Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rev. Dr. Arthur "Art" Cribbs of San Marino Congregational United Church of Christ will no longer marry ANY couples.

Media turns out for CA Faith for Equality press conference at the Pasadena Court House.

CA Faith for Equality Spokesperson, the Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Chruch in Pasadena, introduces the Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs

Flanked by supportive clergy, parishioners and friends, the Rev. Dr. Cribbs announced he will no longer marry any couples until ALL couples can marry. See his statement below.

Weddings No More
By Dr. Art Cribbs

The decision rendered by the California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8, banning marriage between same-sex couples, requires a response from the progressive Christian community.

For more than 20 years, I have had the honor of officiating wedding ceremonies across the United States and here in my home state of California. As an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, I have conducted pre-marital counseling sessions with couples who were committing their lives to each other. I enjoy sharing in the sacred and almost always joyous exchange of marriage vows. I really love to do weddings.

Over the years, I have officiated marriages of Muslim and Christian couples; Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, and non-religious persons. This past weekend I served a beautiful couple: her family is from Cambodia; his is from Scotland and Great Britain.

Marriage is an occasion for rejoicing and celebrating. It is a time when two people embody the true meaning of love; giving their lives to each other in faithful commitment to honor and protect one another; to share the ups and downs of life in sickness and in health; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow for as long as they both shall live.

Families and friends surround couples and vow to support them with love, compassion, and an encouraging presence.

Marriage is about more than two people. It symbolizes God’s love for humanity. It is the acknowledgement that we all need each other. In our separate, individualized lives we join together in holy matrimony to embrace the fullness of life. We come together as one in unity and fidelity. At its best, marriage is the fulfillment of our quest in the pursuit of happiness.

Love is the binding force that holds two people together. Love is that divine element which the Apostle Paul describes in First Corinthians as “patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.”

So, today, it is love that has been put on trial. It is love that suffers the fate of injustice. It is love that stands in the glare of malicious assault. In sacred covenant, loving couples share their love openly as a reminder of God’s love for us. Those whom God has joined together let no one separate. Not even the California Supreme Court or the vote of the majority who dare to rein tyranny on a minority.

In the aftermath of our state’s highest court ruling to ban same-sex marriage, it is my personal and painful decision to no longer perform weddings in the State of California until discrimination against same-sex couples is ended. This decision does not come without sacrifice, but it is necessary for the ministry to have any integrity, I must stand in solidarity with men, women and families who suffer and are unjustly hurt because of discrimination now protected by Proposition 8.

Our State Constitution is a document that protects the rights of all citizens and increases the civil liberties of the people of California. This week, the stain of shame marred our State Constitution and the California Supreme Court failed to protect a vulnerable minority from the tyranny of the majority. I will not conduct another wedding in California until this wrong has been corrected.

The Reverend Dr. Art Cribbs
San Marino Congregational
United Church of Christ
2560 Huntington Drive
San Marino, CA 91108
(626) 292-2080

Friday, May 29, 2009


My name is Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong and I am an Interfaith Organizer here in Orange County for California Faith for Equality. I am also a Board Member of the California Council of Churches. You may not know this, but there are close to 100 congregations in The OC who are supportive of the freedom to marry. California Faith for Equality has a list of 6,000 faith leaders and congregations across the state who support marriage equality. Personally, I have had the privilege of marrying close to 40 couples during my 6-year ministry, both same-sex and opposite-sex.

I am here today to say that progressive religious people will no longer stay silent in the closet. We cannot afford to—in light of what justice demands of us. We cannot afford to—in light of the suffering that members of our congregations are going through because they are being treated as second-class citizens in this state. It may not be popular with our judicatory heads to publicly support marriage equality, and it may not be popular among a segment of the community we serve, but justice is not a popularity contest, it is a test of our faith in doing what we know in our heart is the right thing to do. Recent surveys have indicated that the majority of mainline Protestant clergy support equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people. Congratulations – they join the ranks of Jewish, Buddhists, Unitarian Universalists, and other religious groups who also have a majority supporting the freedom to marry. It’s time for all of us to come out of our religious closets!

This is why California Faith for Equality is introducing this pledge that people of faith across the state are signing as a bold expression of our commitment to making sure gays and lesbians win back the right to marry. We are encouraging congregations who are worshipping this weekend to read this pledge out loud and to have the governing bodies support it as well. If you, as a faith leader can’t speak for anyone else but your own, we need your voice as well, so please sign this pledge.

As faith leaders in Orange County, we are here today to say that bigotry, exclusion and discrimination are NOT faith based family values and that we are committed to stand together for equality for all Californians – no matter how long it takes. We know that the journey ahead will be long and our opponents will stop at nothing short of taking away all the rights and indeed the humanity of same-sex couples and their families. While everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs, it is not acceptable in a country that values religious freedom to establish one religious belief above another. This is called a theocracy and a theocracy has not worked in other countries – what makes us think it will work in California? It doesn’t take a Miss California to figure out this is not the kind of country we want – one that is supposedly biblically correct, but relationally incorrect. Besides, my Bible tells me to love my neighbor as myself – not to take away their rights and discriminate against them.

Fortunately, those of us who support marriage equality are winning despite our temporary setback two days ago. The California Supreme court failed us. But I am reminded of a passage from 1 Corinthians 13 that is often read at wedding ceremonies. It ends with the hopeful phrase, “Love never fails.” The love gays and lesbians share for one another will never fail. The love we share as communities of faith will never fail. This is the dawning of a new day. Our movement does not end here. There’s a Jewish song that says, “Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.” Our day of joy will come. We know that we have time on our side. We know we have truth and justice on our side. We know we have love on our side. On behalf of California Faith for Equality, I invite you to stand together in faith as we move boldly toward equality!

Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong's report on the Orange County Press Conference 5/28 in support of marriage equality for all.

Approximately 20 clergy from various denominations and religious traditions gathered together on Thursday, May 28th to stand in solidarity with the LGBT community in supporting marriage equality for all residents of Orange County, California. Co-sponsored by California Faith for Equality and Orange County Equality Coalition, the press conference featured an explanation by various religious traditions on the rationale behind the clergy's support. From Native American beliefs about two-spirit individuals to pagan beliefs about "doing no harm," marriage equality among indigenous spiritualities seem to pre-date Jewish and Christian teachings. Several clergy, including The Rev. Sarah Halverson of Fairview Community Church (American Baptist and United Church of Christ) also highlighted the diversity of biblical interpretations with Christianity. She says, " " Rabbi Heather Miller read a statement signed by six rabbis in Orange County showing support from Jewish teachings for marriage equality.

Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong from California Faith for Equality highlighted the Pledge to continue the journey to promote greater participation by congregations in the struggle toward marriage equality by asking congregations to publicly read the pledge during a weekend service and have the governing bodies and clergies "come out" in public support of marriage equality. He says, " "

Pastoral care is also being offered throughout Orange County during this time of grieving through the Unitarian Universalist Care Hotline: 877-228-5490 or by visiting an "Open Sanctuary" at Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Costa Mesa or Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Laguna Beach.

People in Orange County are invited to participate in a service to be held on June 4 at 7 pm at University Synagogue in Irvine, entitled, "Telling Our Stories: an Interfaith Journey to Justice."

For more information, please contact AJ Blackwood,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rabbi Denise Eger Speaks Out

Talk about a media presence........!

Prop. 8: Disappointment at Leimert Park rally

11:17 AM May 26, 2009
Shortly before 10 a.m. at Leimert Park, nearly 1,000 clergy members and gay couples gathered at the Lucy Florence Coffee Shop in the heart of Los Angeles’ black community.

The location was chosen by gay activists to send the message that they would reach out to people of color as they launch on the next campaign to persuade voters to support the legalization of gay marriage. More than a dozen TV cameras were set up in the coffee shop’s small meeting room.

Seconds after 10 the crowd's BlackBerrys and cellphones began to vibrate. "It’s 6-1 against," a reporter said. Even though they had been expecting the decision, the clergy and gay couples appeared dismayed. “This is nothing short of an apartheid in our own state” said Rabbi Denise Egger. Marc Solomon, Marriage Director for Equality California, called the ruling a “real [discouragement] of justice” and promised that in the days ahead, the people of California would get to know the 18,000 couples that are now legally married and see that they “simply want to raise their families.”

Solomon said gay marriage supporters were planning to go back to the ballot in 2010.

--Jessica Garrison at Leimert Park

Okay.....maybe not 1000.....but we were everywhere!!!!!!!

Prop 8 Ruling: Reflections from Rev. Lindi Ramsden

We know that marriage is more than a word, and that equality matters now as much as it did then. The good news is that those of us who were blessed to be able to legally marry during the short window of opportunity will continue to live our lives out loud. California’s skies will not fall and pigs won’t fly. The presence of married same sex couples will live out what is possible to a world that would deny their commitment. Hope will blossom and those couples now denied their right to marry will be granted that possibility in some new day. And that day will come.

Read Lindi's complete reflection here

Tuesday, May 26, 2009



"Today is a very sad day in our history. Today’s decision by the California Supreme Court allows the unthinkable: that a small majority of the people can oppress and deny rights to a minority group of people. All minorities should be deeply concerned with this egregious decision. As of today, the rights of all minorities are up for grabs at the ballot box. It is a dangerous and unprecedented decision," said the Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas, President of the Board of California Faith for Equality, a group of 6000 clergy and lay leaders who support marriage equality.

" As people of faith, through our collaboration as California Faith for Equality, we will continue our work to protect and respect the dignity of all minorities, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered peoples. We join with our LGBT friends, sharing in their sadness and commit to work with all peoples in the pursuit of happiness, liberty and justice for all, and not just for some. And we will work with our straight allies

"Time will prove that we are on the right side of history on this issue. But today, justice was delayed and justice was denied. Other states have moved ahead on this issue. California will follow suit and California Faith for Equality will be a dominant voice in the struggle ahead. Our message is a core faith value: All persons are created equal in the eyes of God. This decision will not stand the test of time or the test our core American values: liberty and justice for all"

Reverend Dr. Neil G. Thomas is President of California Faith for Equality, He is currently the Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles. A native of Bournemouth, England, Reverend Thomas is well known for his social activism. He is President of the Los Angeles LGBTQI Clergy Council and serves Metropolitan Community Churches on the California Council of Churches.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Poll from UCLA show for gay couples, married matters

Virtually all of the married men and women who responded - 93 percent - said "love and commitment" were the prime factors in their decision to wed.

Marriage appears to have forged stronger ties between spouses and their families and even colleagues on the job. When asked whether marriage had created a stronger bond with their partners, nearly three-quarters said it had. And families, the gay couples said, reacted with overwhelming acceptance of their marriage: 82 percent said their parents responded positively, while 91 percent indicated siblings were receptive.

Eight of 10 study participants said that being married made them more likely to disclose their sexual orientation to their coworkers and doctors.

"That suggests there's something powerful about that ritual, about that institution," Badgett said. "People feel more accepted by society."

Read the story from the Boston Globe here

CALIFORNIA FAITH FOR EQUALITY CLERGY & LAY LEADERS respond to Prop 8 Court decision TUESDAY May 26th at 9:45am at LEIMART PARK

Press conference and interview opportunities to cover Supreme Court Decision

LOS ANGELES (May 22, 2009)—An Invocation By Rabbi Denise Eger will launch a press conference on May 26th at 9:45am in advance of the release of California Supreme Court’s ruling in the Prop 8 legal challenge. California Faith for Equality clergy and lay leaders will join lawyers and civil rights leaders, will discuss the impact of the court’s decision and the next steps moving forward at 10:30am.

What: Prop 8 legal challenge ruling press conference

When: May 26th at 9:45 a.m.
• Samuel M. Chu, Interim Executive Director, CA Faith for Equality (Speaks Mandarin Chinese)
• Rabbi Denise Eger, President, Southern California Board of Rabbis
• Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas, Senior Pastor, MCC-LA; President CA Faith for Equality Board
• The Rev. Susan Russell, All Saints Church, Pasadena & President, Integrity USA
• Father Geoffrey Farrow, Catholic priest who opposed Prop 8. Fluent in Spanish)
• The Rev. Abel Lopez, Chair Hispanic Task Force, Episcopal Church USA (Fluent in Spanish)
• Douglas Hunter, Mormon lay leader
• Rabbi Steven Jacobs, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Kol Tikvah
• Rev Art Cribbs, pastor of the San Marino Congregational Church (UCC) San Marino, CA
• Rev Dae Jung, Minister, First Congregational Church of LA & Chaplain of Pilgrim School. (Fluent in Korean)

Where: Lucy Florence Cultural Center
3351 W. 43rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90008

The cases are Strauss et al. v. Horton et al. (S168047); Tyler v. California et al (S168066; and CCSF v. Horton (S168078). For more information, go to:

Interviews in Spanish and Mandarin available.

For more information contact: Louise Brooks media Coordinator 626-993-4605

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Human Rights Campaign Announces Partnership with California Faith for Equality.


New comprehensive effort to broaden, diversify, and deepen religious support for marriage equality

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, announced today a new strategic partnership with California Faith for Equality (CFE), a statewide group established to educate, support and mobilize California's faith communities on LGBT equality.

The partnership joins CFE and its 6,000 supporting faith leaders with both HRC's Religion and Faith Program expertise as well as support from the National Field Department to broaden, diversify and deepen religious support for marriage equality in California. The partnership comes on the eve of an expected decision by the California Supreme Court on Proposition 8 which stripped away the right of same-sex couples to marry.

“This is a strategic partnership to not only expand and diversify CFE's impressive statewide work, but to ensure that California voters know that many people of faith support same-sex marriage," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Religion was too often used as a weapon against us in California, and we know whatever the court's decision, this is critical work in achieving full equality."

The Human Rights Campaign will lend significant resources both on-the-ground and collaboratively to California Faith for Equality. Religion and Faith Director Harry Knox and HRC field staff will assist CFE build capacity for a sustained, locally-driven public education campaign led by California clergy and supported by their congregants.

“We must harness this opportunity and help local clergy build advocacy for marriage equality into their routine work in congregations and train participants to utilize low-cost, high-impact public education that extends their justice ministries,” said Harry Knox, Director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program.

“At the core of many people's objection to same-sex marriage is religion,” said Rev. Roland Stringfellow, Bay Area Coalition of Welcoming Congregations. “This collaboration facilitates open and constructive dialogs within faith communities about the inherent worth and dignity of all of God's creation and the shame that is created when people are forced to live without integrity when their lives and loves are not valued.”

“The partnership between the Human Rights Campaign and California Faith for Equality is good news to all who are committed to equality,” said Rev. Abel Lopez, All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena CA. “I look forward to the work we will do together as we combine our energies to reach across differences toward the goal of liberty and justice for all.”

The elements of the partnership include:

--Develop a religious declaration of support for marriage equality that multiple faith leaders can endorse, and use it as a coalition-building tool to attract and build CFE's membership and voice.

--Prioritize those counties where Prop 8 passed or failed by seven percent or less, and build new coalitions while strengthening existing ones.

--Train clergy and lay leaders how to build advocacy for LGBT equality into their routine work with their congregations. Additionally, create a specific tool kit to help people of faith build support beyond their places of worship, and into their families and neighborhoods.

--Identify key religious spokespeople relevant to a local community and give visibility to those clergy and their congregations endorsing marriage equality.

--Create culturally-sensitive as well as denomination-specific material to help religious leaders and people of faith to talk about why supporting marriage equality is consistent with the tenets of their faith. This includes identifying and building coalitions and ties with faith communities of color.

--Work with progressive communities of faith to become volunteers and leaders if a marriage campaign is launched. HRC and CFE believe that communities of faith have much to offer in expanding that statewide, volunteer network.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

The mission for California Faith and Equality is to educate, support and mobilize California's faith communities to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and to safeguard religious freedom.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009



As public debate over Proposition 8 heated up last fall, few religious leaders in California fought the ban on same-sex marriage as tirelessly as Rabbi Denise L. Eger.The Reform rabbi and lesbian denounced the ballot measure at news conferences. She pressed fellow rabbis to join the cause. She performed dozens of weddings for gay and lesbian couples -- sometimes five a day.
Given Eger's activism, one might expect her to champion the issue in her newest official capacity as the first female president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.But Eger, who was installed Monday night at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, said the board's 300 rabbis must tackle a broader agenda, one that deals with hunger, interfaith relations, professional growth for religious leaders and affordable housing in Los Angeles. The housing issue will be addressed during a forum at Eger's first board meeting Wednesday. Read rest of article here

Friday, May 8, 2009

KPCC Radio Interviews Rabbi Denise Eger

KPCC's Alex Cohen interviews Rabbi Denise Eger -- head of the Kol Ami Congregation in West Hollywood and CA Faith for Equality Steering Committee member -- about her new job as president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.

Listen here

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Maine and DC Mark Path For California


May 5, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA –CALIFORNIA FAITH FOR EQUALITY (CFE) applauds lawmakers in Maine and the District of Columbia for their bold votes today on marriage equality for same sex couples. "The arc of history bends toward justice,” said Rabbi Denise Eger founder Congregation Kol-Ami in West Hollywood and one of the founding members of CFE. “Marriage equality for same-gender couples is a reality for our future. California will follow in the footsteps of Maine, the District of Columbia, Vermont, Iowa and Massachusetts. And, we call on the California Supreme Court be on the right side of history by respecting the dignity of every human being, overturning Prop 8 and upholding their May, 2008 decision extending the right to marry to same sex couples.”

“As we await the decision of the California Supreme Court, we are positive that no matter which way the court decides on Prop 8, California will have marriage equality in the very near future”, said Samuel M. Chu, Interim Executive Director of California Faith for Equality. “We are very excited by the actions of these legislators. Things are changing in all areas: political, judicial and religious. We are all unwilling to discriminate against or take away the rights of others.” Chu speaks on behalf of a diverse group of clergy and lay leaders who have united under the California Faith for Equality banner to move ahead on this issue.

Rabbi Eger, a Founder of California Faith for Equality and President of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis, performed over 60 marriages in California during the short window between June and November 2008, including one of the first. She and her partner were also married. “We cannot live in a state that gives rights to some, but not all. I teach in my faith that all persons are created equal and I am confident that California will soon join Maine, the District of Columbia and all the other states celebrating marriage equality for all.”