Religious leaders call for DOMA, Prop 8 to be struck down

In addition to the 278 companies, city governments, law firms, political leaders of both parties, and now even President Obama, an unprecedented number of faith organizations have filed amicus curiae for marriage equality.

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments against both California's Proposition 8, as well as the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA), denominations and religious organizations have filed briefs that confront and rebut arguments by religious supporters of DOMA and Proposition 8 purporting to state a uniform religious position on marriage.

More than two dozen bishops of The Episcopal Church a brief against both Prop 8 and DOMA, including all but one bishop in California. This move comes following the 2012 decision to develop a rite of blessing for same-gender couples. Bishop Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California (Bay Area) wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post that described The Episcopal Church's evolution on marriage equality.

On marriage equality, our church has traveled on pilgrimage with our culture. Sometimes we have led in advocacy for marriage equality, and sometimes we have learned from the culture and from leaders outside the church. We have developed rites for blessing and marriage for all, and we have extended the support of the church to LGBT people in the form of premarital counseling and the integration of same-sex couples into loving communities of faith. The historic social prominence of The Episcopal Church lays some extra responsibility on us to use our influence for good. Thus we have advocated with courts and lawmakers at every level of government to promote marriage equality.

Joining the Episcopal bishops were 18 other faith-based organizations, denominations, and schools. The list included Lutherans (ReconcilingWorks and the Manhattan Conference of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the ELCA), Presbyterians (More Light Presbyterians, Presbyterian Welcome, and Covenant Network of Presbyterians), Jews (The Rabbinical Assembly, The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, The Union for Reform Judaism, and the Synagogue of Conservative Judaism), Methodist (Affirmation, Reconciling Ministries Network, Methodist Federation for Social Action), the Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, Friends for LGBTQ Concerns (Quaker), and the Religious Institute.

The Methodist Federation for Social Action noted the importance of signing onto the briefs. While The United Methodist Church does not currently support same-sex wedding ceremonies, the Social Principles of the denomination “see a clear issue of simple justice in protecting…rightful claims where [there are] shared material resources, pensions, guardian relationships, mutual powers of attorney, and other such lawful claims…that involve shared contributions, responsibilities, and liabilities, and equal protection under the law.”

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