From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
UCC leaders denounce Federal Marriage Amendment
Wed, 28 Apr 2004 13:23:38 -0400
United Church of Christ
April 28, 2004
Barb Powell, press contact
United Church of Christ leaders denounce Federal Marriage Amendment; call
for action and dialogue on marriage
ATLANTA ?? The Executive Council of the United Church of Christ,
meeting in Atlanta, yesterday (April 26) released a statement calling for
the defeat of any federal or state "Defense of Marriage"-type legislation
and inviting continued "serious, respectful, responsible discussions about
? marriage, including diverse understandings of marriage."
Earlier, the Boards of Directors of the denomination's four
covenanted ministries ?? Justice and Witness Ministries, Local Church
Ministries, Office of General Ministries and Wider Church Ministries ??
passed similar resolutions, with much common text, in their joint board
meetings, held April 22-25 in Atlanta.
In calling for the defeat of the Federal Marriage Amendment, the
repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, and the defeat or repeal of
any similar State legislation, UCC leaders affirmed "equal rights for all
couples who seek to have their relationships recognized by the State."
They also said, "We hold that, as a child of God, every person is
endowed with worth and dignity that human judgment cannot set aside. We
believe that recognition of the sacred joining of individuals is deserving
of serious, faithful discussion by people of faith."
The UCC Executive Council released the statement and the four Boards
passed their resolutions "because there is a need to end the rhetoric which
fuels hostility, misunderstanding, fear and hatred expressed toward gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, and the denial of their equality
under law." The approved texts cite the UCC's historic stance with
disenfranchised persons, including persons of color and women.
The 1.3-million-member United Church of Christ, with national offices
in Cleveland, has some 6,000 local congregations in the United States and
Puerto Rico. The UCC's national setting, General Synod and regional and
national bodies speak to, but not for, its local churches.
# # #
[EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: Here are excerpts from the texts of the "Call to
Action and Invitation to Dialogue on Marriage" resolutions of the Boards of
Directors of the United Church of Christ's Covenanted Ministries, and the
statement released by the UCC's Executive Council April 26, 2004.]
"The United Church of Christ has historically stood with the
disenfranchised. From support by our predecessor denominations for
abolition of slavery to the recognition of women as equal partners in
religious leadership, we have consistently honored the biblical injunction
to support 'the least of these.' We hold that, as a child of God, every
person is endowed with worth and dignity that human judgment cannot set
aside. We believe that recognition of the sacred joining of individuals is
deserving of serious, faithful discussion by people of faith, taking into
consideration the long, complex history of marriage and family life,
layered as it is by cultural practices, economic realities, political
dynamics, religious history, and biblical interpretation.
"Because there is a need to end the rhetoric which fuels hostility,
misunderstanding, fear and hatred expressed toward gay, lesbian, bisexual
and transgender persons, and the denial of their equality under the law ?
"* Call for the defeat of the Federal Marriage Amendment and the repeal of
the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA);
"* Call for the defeat or repeal of any similar Amendments to the
Constitution of any State and the defeat or repeal of any State's Defense
of Marriage Act (DOMA) or similar legislation ?
"* Encourage and support the continued collaborative efforts of the UCC to
develop educational resources, study guides and social policy analyses for
use by UCC members and congregations in addressing the issues of marriage;
"* Urge all settings of the UCC and individual church members to engage in
serious, respectful, responsible discussions about the study of marriage,
including diverse understandings of marriage;
"* Commend the resources now available to our churches called "God Is Still
Speaking, About Marriage." This resource is a discussion guide for
congregations to engage in healthy conversations and study about marriage,
biblical and theological reflections on covenant and marriage, legal and
economic aspects of marriage, and the role of the church in making
marriages official and legal (see <www.ucc.org/justice/marriage.htm>; and
"* Affirm equal rights for all couples who seek to have their relationships
recognized by the State.
"The national setting of the United Church of Christ is committed to being
in ministry in ways that are multiracial, multicultural, open and
affirming, accessible to all, and advocate for peace with justice."
# # #
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