Tuesday, August 17, 2010

CFE's Press Release on Appellate Court Stay on Same Sex Marriages

"Once again, 'justice delayed is justice denied', "said Samuel M. Chu, Executive Director of California Faith for Equality. “CFE faith leaders are saddened by today's decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that same-sex couples can not marry in California while the court considers the constitutionality of the state's gay marriage ban. While we are deeply disappointed, we will continue to work hard, making sure religious support is heard at every step of the court's proceedings including filing an amicus brief to the appellate court this fall.

"We are very confident that the appellate court will uphold Justice Walker's decision.The Supreme Court has affirmed in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 that marriage is a basic civil right. Justice Walker, in his own decision on August 4, 2010 said that California has no interest in discriminating against same gender couples, yet today's stay is a stay on justice.

" As faith leaders caring for members of our communities," said Chu, "we know these court proceedings have real-life consequences to and impact on thousands of couples and families and we will continue to advocate for equality for all. Our faith traditions teach that we must respect the dignity of every human being and to reduce loving gay and lesbian couples to a second class status is wrong. It is just a matter of time until our faith leaders will put their faith into action and marry loving, committed couples who echo the strong family values of their religious communities.

In the meantime, CFE will also continue to organize our faith leaders and secular partners to continue to bring our communities together to support all marriages and to value all families. We are and remain committed to 'Let freedom and wedding bells ring!' for as long as it takes "

Samuel M. Chu is available for comment: 310-988-5548

Louise Brooks, Media Coordinator ■ 626.993.4605 ■ louise@cafaithforequality.org

California Faith for Equality is a statewide network of clergy and lay leaders from a diversity of faith traditions who are committed to equality.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rabbi Denise Eger's Press Release on Jduge Walker's Stay

AUGUST 12, 2010
For More information
Call (323) 606-0996

Rabbi Denise L. Eger: “Let the weddings begin!”

(West Hollywood, CA) – Today Judge Vaughn Walker lifted the stay on marriages for gay men and lesbians effective Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 5 pm. Next week gay and lesbian couples will be able to legally wed unless proponents of Proposition 8 are able to seek a stay from the U.S. Appeals Court. There is a question of who has standing to file an appeal.

Rabbi Denise L. Eger, spiritual leader of Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood is ready for the weddings to resume. Rabbi Eger officiated at the first wedding on June 16, 2008 at 5:01 pm for Robin Tyler and Diane Olsen on the steps of the Beverly Hills Courthouse. During the 2008 “Summer of Love” Eger officiated at 60 weddings until they were shut down by the November 2008 passage of Proposition 8

Rabbi Eger, also President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis, is looking forward to the stay being lifted next week. “Let the weddings begin!” she said when she heard the news. “This is a matter of justice and equality,” said Eger. “We thank Judge Vaughn for his courage in recognizing that all citizens ought to be able to protect their families under the law. Marriage is a civil right. As long as you have to go to the county courthouse and take out a license then this must be afforded to all citizens.” Judge Walker found that gay and lesbian couples are also protected by the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.

Rabbi Eger was disappointed that it will take another week for the stay to be lifted. “My faith teaches me that all loving couples ought to be able to protect their families with the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage. Reform Jewish tradition has long supported gay and lesbian civil rights. When Proposition 8 passed it kept me from practicing my faith tradition.”

Eger is the founding Rabbi of Kol Ami and was last month named by the Jewish Daily Forward as one of the 50 most influential women rabbis in America. In 2008 she was named by the Forward as one of the 50 most influential Jews in America for her work on gay and lesbian civil rights.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


Los Angeles - August 12, 2010

"Today justice won out, said Samuel M. Chu, Executive Director of California Faith for Equality. “Today's decision by US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker to overturn Prop 8 and lift the stay on same gender marriages in the state of California on August 18th is a giant step toward equality.

" The Supreme Court has affirmed that marriage is a fundamental right. Justice Walker, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, last week said that California has no interest in discriminating against same gender couples. On August 18, 2010 discrimination will end and equality will become a reality.

"CFE is committed to let freedom and wedding bells ring! Our membership of over 6000 clergy are poised to perform marriages for loving gay and lesbian couples throughout the state. As people of faith. we believe these are blessed and holy relationships and we are thrilled that they can now be legally recognized marriages in the state of California.

While we realize that today's decision could be overturned by a higher court and we strongly oppose any stay on equal protection for all persons, CFE will continue to organize our faith leaders and secular partners to continue to support all marriages and to value all families.

Samuel M. Chu is available for comment: 310-988-5548

California Faith for Equality is a statewide network of clergy and lay leaders from a diversity of faith traditions who are committed to equality.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Los Angeles, California - August 11, 2010

For immediate release:

California Faith for Equality (CFE) is delighted to learn that Judge Vaughan Williams will rule tomorrow on whether marriage equality will return to California while his landmark decision in the case makes its way to an appeals court.

"CFE strongly opposes any stay on the too-long delayed guarantee of equal protection to gay and lesbian couples" said Samuel M. Chu, Executive Director of CFE. "Justice delayed is justice denied and we have advised our statewide network to prepare for a lift of the ban on marriage equality."

It is our deepest hope that tomorrow will be the day that our 6,000 clergy across the state of California will once again be able to offer both equal blessings and equal protection to the couples coming to them to celebrate the sanctity of their marriages. We know that the opponents of marriage equality will try everything to prevent this landmark ruling from taking effect but we stand ready as well -- ready to work with our allies committed to marriage equality and to perserve until liberty and justice for all really means all.

We will be ready tomorrow -- or whenever the stay is lifted -- because we know that we are on the right side of history and we are privileged to be part of this struggle.

Samuel Chu is available for comment: 310-988-5548

For more informationconatct:
Louise Brooks
Media Coordinator

Thursday, August 5, 2010

CFE's Rabbi Denise Eger Hails Prop 8 Ruling

From the Los Angeles Times
August 4, 2010 3:05 pm

Upon hearing of federal Judge Vaughn R. Walker's ruling on Proposition 8, 85-year-old Phyllis Lyon uttered a quiet, “Bless his heart.”

She and her lifelong partner Del Martin were the first to be married in San Francisco’s City Hall in February 2004, in a private ceremony that opened the floodgates to thousands more weddings and multiple court battles.

Martin died in 2008, 56 years after she and Lyon joined together in a lasting lovers’ union. Lyon on Wednesday called Walker’s ruling “a wonderful statement” and said she planned to stick around until this battle was ultimately won nationwide.

She and her partner, and then wife, were initially opposed to the institution of marriage as early feminists. But it became clear to them in recent years that the prohibition against such marriages made gays and lesbians second-class citizens, she said.

“It’s a step toward making people understand that we’re human beings like everybody else and we deserve the same kinds of privileges that everyone else has,” she said, “with the same names.”

Jeanne Rizzo waited outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco for Walker's ruling. She and her partner of 21 years, Pali Cooper, have been fighting from the trenches since the courts blocked the 2004 marriages and San Francisco officials closed the door right in front of them as they waited in line for a marriage license.

They became plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court case that briefly legalized the unions and wed, then began a new wave of activism to counter Prop. 8.

“I’m just so proud of us,” she said as she greeted well-wishers in the crowd. “It’s as it should be. It just proves that you really should not be leaving this to a popular vote. ... My heart is full.”

Cooper, a chiropractor, was seeing patients Wednesday but Rizzo said, “I want to go home to my wife…I can’t wait to go home and hug her.”

In Los Angeles, Rabbi Denise Eger, president of the Southern California Board of Rabbis, hailed the ruling but was waiting to hear whether it would be stayed.

“I don’t think anybody’s quite clear yet on whether it means that weddings can happen,” she said a short time after the ruling was handed down. “That’s the big question, whether I as a rabbi can start officiating.”

Eger, who is married to a woman, is rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, which has a large gay and lesbian membership.

“Here’s my advice to those who have theological trouble with gay and lesbians getting married,” she said. “In our country, marriage is very much a civil right, and yet we also ensure freedom of religion -- and freedom from religion.

"And so while there are those who are more theologically to the right wing, theologically conservative, who would not support marriage for gay people from their theological perspective, the answer is: They don’t have to do them," she continued. "They have their freedom of religion in our country not to officiate. … For those of us who are theologically progressive, we also have the freedom of our religion to practice our values.”

“So it’s a very joyous day,” she said. “And I know there were many couples who wanted to get married who … are ready and I look forward to standing under the chuppah with them,” referring to the canopy used in Jewish weddings.

She added that the Board of Rabbis opposed Prop. 8, despite some dissent from its more theologically conservative members.

-- Lee Romney in San Francisco and Mitchell Landsberg in Los Angeles

Thursday, July 29, 2010


July 29, 2010

"CFE calls for good people of all faiths to speak out against the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) for allowing a supporter to carry a sign painted with two nooses implying that LGBT people should 'be put to death' and quoting the Book of Leviticus from the Bible or a pastor to compare gays and lesbians to pedophiles, adulterers and alcoholics, " said Samuel M. Chu, Executive Director of California Faith for Equality (CFE). "We can no longer tolerate the spread of organized homophobia and spiritual violence perpetuated under the guise of 'protecting marriage'. It must be stopped."

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, an Episcopal priest, said, "We cannot allow the Bible to be used as a weapon of mass discrimination and disinformation. Good people of faith are outraged at watching their scriptures exploited to condemn the holy relationships of gay and lesbian couples that are blessed by God. As a member of CFE, I join thousands of clergy, lay leaders and congregations who support these couples, who celebrate their love, bless their relationships and lobby for their equality."

"Recent polls reveal that 51% of Californians support marriage equality," said Chu. "CFE will continue to organize a faith based response to organizations such a NOM which spew hatred and fear rather than love and acceptance. It is only a matter of time for marriage equality to become a reality. We represent more than 6000 California clergy and faith leaders committed to equality and we will continue to raise those voices up until there is liberty and justice for all."

Samuel Chu is available for comment: 310-988-5548

The Rev. Susan Russell is available for comment: 714-356-5718

Thursday, July 22, 2010



June 21st, 2010


LOS ANGELES, CA –"A new poll out today found that many Californians believe the Golden Rule supports allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry," said CFE Executive Director Samuel M. Chu. "This research validates the work California Faith for Equality has been doing to promote those religious voices that support marriage equality. We now have data supporting our conviction that religion can be a positive force for marriage equality. This poll found that if a vote on marriage equality were held today, 51% of Californians would support it."

Chu continued, "CFE has a membership of over 6000 statewide clergy and lay leaders who have been organizing to make religious communities a force in winning full equality, especially since the passage of Prop 8 in 2008. Most recently, we co-sponsored and supported the Civil Marriage Religious Freedom Act, SB 906, introduced in Sacramento by Senator Mark Leno. SB 906 reaffirms that no clergy member can be required to solemnize a civil marriage contrary to his or her beliefs and that churches will not lose tax-exempt status for refusing to solemnize any marriages. This new research reports that such a bill increases the support for marriage equality from 42% to 54%. We are definitely on the right track."

Chu went on to say, "We applaud the work of the Public Religion Research Institute. Their poll reveals that most Californians believe that Prop 8 was bad for California – only 1 in 5 Californians believe Prop 8 was a “good thing” for our state. CFE plans to widely distribute these compelling poll results as well as continue to organize congregations come out for marriage equality.

"We have gained tremendous ground during the last year. We see the evidences of Californians moving toward full equality for all people and CFE will continue to work to educate as well as change hearts and minds so that the Golden Rule becomes a lived reality in our state."

The entire poll can be found at: http://www.publicreligion.org

Samuel Chu is available for comment

To reach him call: 310-988-5548