It is long past time to overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a shameful piece of legislated discrimination that does nothing to defend marriage and everything to make second-class citizens out of gay and lesbian couples and their families. And so as the Senate Judiciary Committee begins debate on the Respect for Marriage Act on Capitol Hill, our nation takes a much-needed step toward making liberty and justice for all not just a pledge but a reality.
God does not discriminate against same-sex couples, and neither should our federal government. The time has come for a "protect marriage" movement that protects all marriages, and for a "family values" coalition that values all families -- and as a priest and pastor, I want to be part of helping realize that goal.
In my parish, All Saints Church in Pasadena, Calif., we married f46 same-sex couples when marriage equality was the law in California from May to November 2008. When a slim majority of California voters passed Proposition 8 and wrote discrimination into our state constitution, our governing board passed the following resolution:
WHEREAS, the institution of civil marriage in the State of California is, as a result of Proposition 8 and the Court's decision, a constitutionally-mandated instrument of discrimination, which furthers injustice and denies same-sex couples the fundamental dignities to which each human being is entitled;
WHEREAS, our active participation in the discriminatory system of civil marriage is inconsistent with Jesus' call to strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being; and
WHEREAS, All Saints Church is called to make the sacrament of marriage equally available to all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rector, Wardens and Vestry do declare that the sacramental right of marriage is available to all couples, but that the clergy of All Saints Church will not sign civil marriage certificates so long as the right to marry is denied to same-sex couples.
The Respect for Marriage Act will allow All Saints Church to get back into the business of ministering equally to all who come to us seeking to live lives committed to each other and in alignment with God's love, justice and compassion. And by granting the same federally protected rights and responsibilities to all married couples, it will help us live into our DNA as a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal.
The Respect for Marriage Act isn't just the right thing to do for same-sex couples. It's the right thing to do for America.
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