On eve of oral arguments for Oklahoma’s marriage case before the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, coalition of 215 faith leaders say they support marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples
DENVER – Why Marriage Matters Colorado, the broad coalition working to remove discrimination from Colorado’s constitution and secure the freedom to marry for all committed couples, today announced that a coalition of 215 clergy and faith leaders in Colorado support marriage equality. The announcement comes in between two weeks of oral arguments for the Utah and Oklahoma marriage cases before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Denver.
“I support the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples because, as a Christian, I believe in the power of covenanted, loving relationships, no less for same-sex couples,” said the Rev. Dr. Benjamin J. Broadbent, minister of First Congregational Church of Colorado Springs. “Many of my friends and congregants are lesbian or gay, and I want them to have the same rights and recognition I enjoy in my own marriage.”
The coalition – Faithful Voices for Strong Families – is composed of ministers, pastors, rabbis, chaplains, non-profit directors, and seminary professors from a range of different faith traditions. This group includes faith leaders in Colorado Springs, Loveland, Fort Collins, Greeley, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Buena Vista, Gunnison, and the Denver metropolitan area.
“As people of faith, we believe in practicing the Golden Rule, treating others as we would want to be treated,” said Jeremy Shaver, spokesperson for the Faithful Voices Coalition. “All loving and committed couples deserve to be treated with respect, and the freedom to marry gives them that respect. As faith leaders, we also support religious freedom. No clergyperson, house of worship or religious organization will ever be forced to perform a wedding that violates their religious beliefs. We can have marriage equality and protect religious freedom at the same time.”
Additional representatives of the Faithful Voices Coalition have shared their own reasons for supporting the freedom to marry:
Rev. Jessica Rooks, Pastor, Cameron United Methodist Church, Denver:
“I believe we are all created in the image of God; an image of goodness and love. We live into the fullness of who we are when we are empowered to enter into loving, mutually beneficial relationships. We live into the fullness of who we can be when our inherent worth is recognized, honored and upheld. We begin to live into the fullness of what our community can be, grounded in God’s love, with marriage equality.”
Rev. Bonnie Sarah Spencer, Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fort Collins:
“As a Christian and a clergyperson in the Episcopal Church, I support marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in Colorado. God’s love and embrace reach to all people, and LGBT folks are certainly included in that embrace. I believe these committed couples should be able to participate fully in their faith communities and in our society by having the freedom to marry.
Rabbi Benjamin (Jamie) Arnold, Congregation Beth Evergreen, Evergreen:
“I see no legal, rational, social, spiritual, or Biblical basis for denying same-sex couples the rights and responsibilities of marriage. As a member of a minority faith, and a rabbinic leader of a religious movement that not only tolerates, but fully celebrates the sacred covenant of marriage between same-sex couples, I regard state and federal bans on such marriages as an infringement upon my community’s constitutional right to freedom of religious expression.”
Rev. Rebecca Kemper Poos, Pastor, Congregational United Church of Christ, Buena Vista:
“As people of faith living in Christian community, we believe that ‘every good and perfect gift comes from God, our Creator.’ Every person is sacred, and every relationship based on love, commitment and faithfulness is holy in God’s sight. Marriage equality for all God’s children is our faithful response to the fullness of God’s gifts. The time for marriage equality is now.”
Why Marriage Matters Colorado is broadening the dialogue with Coloradans about why marriage is important to same-sex couples and their families and why it is consistent with the values of liberty and freedom. More information on this statewide initiative – which is being spearheaded by leading statewide LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, ACLU of Colorado, and Freedom to Marry – can be found here: www.whymarriagematterscolorado.org