WASHINGTON – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement celebrating the legalization of same-gender marriage in Rhode Island and now all of New England:
I congratulate Rhode Island on becoming the tenth state in our nation to grant marriage equality to all couples and to recognize that our civil laws on marriage cannot continue to be based on one theological perspective of who can or should be allowed to marry. Given our nation’s constitutional commitment to religious freedom, nothing in Rhode Island’s enactment of marriage equality will deprive anyone of the right to practice the teachings of their respective religious institutions.
Though I am pleased legislators take protecting religious freedom seriously, the implicit message that continues to be sent by religious exemptions in such legislation is that the First Amendment does not already provide adequate protections for religious freedom – I believe that it does. Ensuring the civil rights of the LGBT community and respecting religious freedom for all persons are not mutually exclusive. It is a victory for equality and for religious liberty when our leaders act to correct public policies shaped by some groups’ religious convictions.
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.