The Council served as the lead faith organization in an amicus to Hollingsworth v Perry. The amicus rejects California’s Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage. Affirming the rights of all people before the law, the amicus also objected to the inequality of religious belief inherent within that proposition’s bar to same sex marriage.
“Over the decades many of our various Protestant denominations have pursued deep theological reflection on marriage, on the value of all human beings before the law and in terms of our shared faith principles,” said Council Executive Director Rev. Dr. Rick Schlosser. “Many of our denominations long ago accepted the full communion of all people within their churches and thus wish to have the full legal right to offer weddings as aspects of those religious beliefs. Barring same sex marriage has meant curtailing the religious rights of several denominations and faiths. The Council celebrates today’s ruling for both the couples involved and for our denominations’ right to practice their beliefs. We would affirm no less with respect to our secular, Constitutional society.”
He added, “Because we respect religious liberty, we have also worked legislatively to protect the right of any church, pastor, or denomination to be held immune from having to perform same sex weddings if those violate religious beliefs. However, this is a Constitutional issue of equality within civil society as well as an affirmation of religious difference. We assert that in civil laws of marriage there can be no barriers to any adult’s access to this basic human right just as we assert that different religious tenets may be upheld in religious settings. There is no contradiction between civil rights of marriage and sectarian differences on the performance of weddings.”
Although the Council was not a party in the federal Defense of Marriage Act challenge, the Council celebrates this ruling as well. “Now within those states where same sex couples are legally married, those couples will have access for the first time to tax and pension and survivor rights routinely accorded to traditional married couples. That is a true affirmation of equality in America.”
The Council represents 1.5 million members within various mainstream and progressive Protestant communities of faith in California. They joined with other Christians and Jews in presenting the amicus on behalf of religious liberty regarding same sex marriage.
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