Marriage Equality is a Religious Value
February 9, 2012 by Sharon Groves, Director, Religion and Faith Program
Dr. Robert Jones from the Public Religion Research Institute convincingly makes the case in the Huffington Post that “the same-sex marriage debate has moved past the old battle lines between secular proponents and religious foes.” Indeed, Senator Mary Margaret Haugen passionately spoke in the Washington State legislature that her “strong Christian beliefs” convinced her to cast her critical vote in support of marriage equality. Thanks to her vote and the votes of other brave legislators, including the practicing Catholic Governor Chris Gregoire, we are celebrating marriage equality in Washington State.
Rep. Haugen is just one of a growing number of Christians who are publicly voicing support for marriage equality because of their faith. As Dr. Jones’ states further, “the [m]ajorities of five major religious groups and the religiously unaffiliated favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry….Together these religious groups make up approximately 45 percent of the general population.”
Faithful people have been wrestling for decades with their faith and their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, neighbors, or fellow congregants. But just as Jacob found a deep love for his estranged brother Esau after wrestling with God, when people of faith soulfully and honestly look to their spiritual roots for guidance they are joining in larger and larger numbers the chorus of religious voices supporting marriage equality throughout the country. For people of faith, this movement feels sometimes like the next great awakening!
As Rev. Alison Halsey from Baltimore Maryland recently preached in a sermon, “Jesus, as we followed him in the gospels, went out of his way to welcome all – to ease the suffering of the ostracized and the marginalized. He wished for all of humanity to be in communion with God. He believed and he taught that God was a God of love. It is the life of Jesus Christ that teaches us the clearest way to experience God’s love is to live in honest, just and trusting relationships with one another. And marriage is the ultimate expression of commitment, trust and generative love.”
Marriage equality is at its core about the public expression and celebration of love. People of faith in California, Washington, Maryland, and across the country are compelled by scripture and their sacred traditions to become marriage equality supporters, to become justice workers for love.
Dr. Sharon Groves is the Director of HRC's Religion & Faith program.
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