Religion News Summary Highlights for May 9, 2012

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Yesterday, residents of North Carolina voted in favor of Amendment One, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban any form of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples as well as not recognize unions other than married couples.  Many faith leaders voiced their opposition and support for the measure, including Billy Graham, Jay Bakker, and Reverend Dr. William Barker.  According to a recent survey from the Public Policy Polling, most North Carolinians were not aware of what Amendment One actually does.  The poll found that over 60 percent of North Carolina voters either were unsure what they thought the measure did, thought the Amendment did something less, or thought the amendment did something other than in actuality.  For this week, there is an additional “Amendment One” category below, in which various faith perspectives are included.  

Last week, supporters of LGBT equality within the United Methodist General Conference experienced a setback, as over 50 percent of the delegates voted to keep the Church’s official statements about LGBT people in the Book of Discipline.  Motions to remove the language that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” was defeated, as was a petition that would acknowledge the honesty that faithful United Methodists disagree on the place of LGBT people in the church.  Though the vote was disappointing, many Methodists openly supported LGBT equality at the conference.  The Religious Institute and Methodist pastors have publically disagreed with the conference vote.

Despite these setbacks, we have some hope. Even as we are preparing this summary, President Obama endorsed marriage equality for all Americans, saying, “At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” Many initial faith reactions are coming in, and we will have a full round-up next week.