Faith Voices Making the Difference in New Jersey
October 29, 2013 by Guest contributor
Guest blog post by Amelia Nugent, Faith Director for New Jersey United for Marriage
About a week before the historic win for marriage equality in New Jersey 23 faith leaders participated in a Faith Training sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Religion and Faith Program with Macky Alston from Auburn Theological Seminary. During the training the faith leaders learned about how to speak their faith convictions to the media and exchanged personal stories about their support for marriage equality. Pastor Steve Huston was one of those leaders.
"It was difficult,” he told the group, "It took me many years of prayer and wrestling. What I finally came to realize is that we are all created in God's image. God gives us all gifts - gift for ministry, or a gift for parenting, a gift for being a partner to someone - it is our job to use these gifts to the glory of God." Many of the faith leaders in the room echoed his words, and came away feeling more confident about their ability to speak their truths in the public sphere.
The training could not have come sooner for faith leaders in New Jersey. Less than 10 days later, the historic court case was handed down and New Jersey United for Marriage was suddenly looking for clergy to marry the many same-sex couples who were eager to say their vows with members of their faith communities.
Supportive clergy who had attended the training were at the ready and prepared to talk to the many members of the media who came to photograph and film these historic weddings. Reverend Russell Hicks, who was featured on MSNBC after being present at a midnight marriage ceremony in Asbury Park, NJ said, “The whole experience was a joy.”