For immediate release - November 4th, 2009
CALIFORNIA RELIGIOUS LEADERS CALL MAINE VOTE TO REPEAL SAME SEX MARRIAGE A TRAVESTY & TRAGEDY
"Today we share the sadness of the people of Maine who narrowly lost a chance to affirm equality for all, by taking away the right to marry from same sex couples. We condemn the use of lies and fear tactics used to manipulate the true issues of this race. Maine is the 31st state to block same sex marriage through a public referendum. It is tragic when Americans vote to take away the rights of their fellow Americans. We need to recalibrate our moral compass to reflect the true American values of liberty and justice for all, not just some,” said Samuel M. Chu, a Presbyterian pastor and Interim Executive Director of California Faith for Equality.
“Yesterday the forces of fear and hatred won in Maine. The religious right wing has once again written their theology into the state constitution,” said, Rabbi Denise Eger, President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis and founding board member of California Faith for Equality (CFE). “As a rabbi, I speak out against their manipulation of our civic rights and responsibilities. As a rabbi whose faith demands inclusion, I will not allow their Christian right wing theology to affect my ability to practice my faith. This is a travesty for Maine and for our country. "
The Reverend Dr. Neil Thomas, Sr. Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles and President of the Board of CFE echoed, “Today I grieve with the same sex couples in Maine that voters succumbed to the lies and the rhetoric that, once again used faith language to deny equal rights to all of God's people. It is a sad reality that fundamentalism, specifically fundamentalist Christianity, has distorted the values and life of Jesus who, in his ministry sided with the poor, the disenfranchised and those who were a minority. While we know that today is a sad day for justice and full equality in Maine, our country and the world, CFE will continue to raise its religious voice in support of those on the margins and follow the precepts of all faith systems that preach justice, love, hope and equality.”
The Reverend Canon Susan Russell, a priest at All Saints Church, Pasadena and immediate past President of Integrity USA, a gay advocacy group in the Episcopal Church, said, "I'm surprised I can still be disappointed by those who are willing to legislate away the civil rights of other Americans. Thank God we didn't have referendums in 1954 or Brown v Board of Education would have been toast."
Pastor Chu concluded, "We are reminded today that change is always hard fought and incremental. We have lots of work to do. We must learn to embrace and engage people who are different. We must embrace the teaching of our faith traditions and love our neighbors as ourselves. We must not take away the same rights we hold dear, from other minority groups because they are different than we are. We must embrace ‘the other’, ‘the stranger at the gate’. It is truly time for love and compassion to overcome fear and hatred. We will not rest until all families, all children, all human beings have theopportunity to be recognized as equal."
California Faith for Equality is a network of over 6000 faith and religious clergy and lay leaders who support equality.