24 Episcopal clergy urge recognition of same-sex marriages in DC

Bishop John Bryson Chane, retired Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon and 22 Episcopal priests are among the 135 religious leaders who have signed a statement supporting the recognition of same-sex marriages in the District of Columbia.

The statement reads:

We are District of Columbia clergy and religious leaders of many faiths, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. We represent religious institutions in every ward in the District. We have worked together over many years for peace and justice and now join our voices again to speak a faithful word for freedom and equality.

We declare that our faith calls us to affirm marriage equality for loving same-sex couples.

Our religious traditions and scriptures teach us that wherever love is present, God is also present. One of God’s greatest gifts to us is our human capacity to love one another. The ability of two people to enter into relationships and form families of love and care is one expression of this gift. It is holy and good. We therefore affirm the right of loving same-gender couples to enter into such relationships on an equal basis with loving heterosexual couples.

We recognize that there are principled differences on this issue within the religious community. We affirm that the state should not require any religious group to officiate at, or bless, same-gender marriages. However, the state also should not favor the convictions of one religious group over another by denying individuals their fundamental civil right to marry whom they love.

Recognizing that there is heartfelt disagreement on this issue, we call on all people of the District of Columbia to engage in a respectful and loving dialogue on marriage equality. As religious leaders, we commit ourselves to such a dialogue and encourage our colleagues on all sides of this issue to do the same.

God is love and love is for everyone. In this spirit we raise our voices in the struggle for the right and freedom to marry.

The coalition is inviting any D.C.-based religious leader or clergy member to co-sign their declaration. The Rev. Luis Leon, rector of St. John’s Church Lafayette Square, who gave the invocation at former President George W. Bush’s second inauguration, and the Rev. Steve Huber, vicar of Washington National Cathedral, were members of the Clergy of Marriage steering committee. The entire clerical staff of St. Columba’s, the diocese largest church, signed the declaration, as did most of the clerical staff of the cathedral.

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