LGBT Affirming People of Faith Speak Out on Marriage Equality

By GLAAD |
June 27, 2011

In light of recent media portrayal of opponents of marriage equality as predominantly religious, GLAAD would like to highlight the voices of LGBT affirming people of faith from around the state of NY.
In the clearest opposition to the popular portrayal of all Catholics as anti-gay, the New York Times reported on a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, which found that 74% of American Catholics surveyed supported marriage or civil unions for all couples. “Unfortunately, the public campaign of our bishops against marriage equality does not reflect this reality. This saddens us deeply, because we believe it misuses precious resources, represents a narrow view of Catholic teaching, and needlessly delays the achievement of a just goal,” said Jeff Stone, a spokesperson for Dignity/NY. “As Catholics, we will continue to work and pray for the day that our whole church recognizes that God’s divine love is reflected in same-sex relationships, just as it is in opposite-sex relationships,” wrote Marianne Duddy-Burke, the executive director of DignityUSA.

Many members of the Episcopal Church, including Bishops, have spoken recently in support of marriage for all couples. The Episcopal Church in America elected Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop, in 2003, and passed resolutions in 2009 to allow marriages for all couples to be performed in states where it is legal. The Rev. Michael W. Hopkins, Rector at St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene Episcopal Church in Rochester, emphasized that it is the duty of the church “to be the agent of the new thing the prophets taught us God is always doing… I am reminded of something the then Lutheran Bishop of the Washington Metro Area said to our Diocesan Convention in Washington many years ago. ‘Progressives in the Church need to remember that God never changes; traditionalists need to remember that God is always doing a new thing.’”

“To the many LGBT members of the diocese I celebrate this day with you, your loved ones and families. Today the New York Senate has helped us all move yet closer to living the reality that there are no outcasts in the church,” wrote the Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Episcopal Bishop of Long Island. “This is a good day for New York and I am profoundly proud to be a New Yorker, an American and a follower of Christ.  I pray that the all New Yorkers, those who support and those who oppose this Act, will celebrate the fact that the human rights of a community have been affirmed by the state. Since no one is free until everyone is free, Marriage Equality takes us closer to our pursuit of a more wholesome society,” added the Rt. Rev. Prince Singh, 8th Episcopal Bishop of Rochester. The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, 15th Episcopal Bishop of New York, wrote that the bill “does not determine Church teaching about the nature of sacraments.  That is our continuing work.  However, nothing in the unfinished nature of that work should cause us to hesitate to give our most profound thanks for the step that has been taken in affording equal civil rights for our brothers and sisters.”
“We give thanks to God for the courage of a majority of the New York Senate and Assembly not only to recognize our families, but to provide equal protections under state law. We also give thanks for the countless hours of faithful engagement given by those allied in coalition for marriage equality.  For Lutherans, this action in the state of New York, means that ELCA pastors and congregations in six states and the District may choose to marry same gender couples, thereby providing the same support for all our families,” wrote Emily Eastwood, executive director for Lutherans Concerned/North America. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America began to recognize all couples in 2009.

To suggest that religion without exception inspires anti-gay sentiment is inaccurate and unfair, and GLAAD will continue to amplify the voices of pro-LGBT people of faith. We expect that more faith leaders of all traditions will speak out on marriage equality. If you know of a pro-LGBT person of faith, please contact faith@glaad.org to help us amplify their voices.