Progressive People of Faith Saddened
(The following is a press release from Equal Partners in Faith following passage of California Proposition 22 on March 8, 2000)
Religious Leaders Express Concern for Those Affected by the Passage of Proposition 22
March 8, 2000 - Equal Partners in Faith, a multi-racial network of religious leaders and people of faith committed to equality and diversity, issued the following statement:
We join with religious and civil rights leaders all across the country who are expressing their sorrow and dismay regarding the passage of California ballot initiative Proposition 22, also known as the Limitation on Marriage Act. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in California and all across the United States who will be discriminated against because of Proposition 22, and we hold on to the vision that there will be a time when all people will be treated equally under the law.
Unfortunately, the people in California who were fighting for this initiative were dividing communities and deceiving voters into believing that all people of faith supported this initiative. The truth is that there are many people of faith who did not support Proposition 22, who support families of all kinds, and who believe in the full inclusion of all people in society, regardless of gender.
The real issue that voters faced in California was whether all families would be treated equally under the law. By passing this initiative, Californians deemed discrimination and prejudice acceptable. It is a sad day when people choose to affirm discrimination, especially when discrimination is cloaked in religious dogma. As people of faith, we believe this is immoral.
We live in America, a pluralistic society with many different religious beliefs. Each religious institution is free to define marriage and families for their own religious purposes, and many religious institutions do not discriminate against couples based on gender. Fortunately, we are guaranteed the right to practice freedom of religion. However, our civil laws are not supposed to be based on one set of religious dogma, but are supposed to be based on the Constitutional principles of equality for all people. We believe this initiative is not only immoral but contrary to the principles of freedom and equality established by our Constitution.
We know there are many loving families who work together, play together, and pray together, who will suffer from this initiative. We know that many families will be denied insurance coverage, hospital visitation rights, parenting rights, inheritance, taxation, and many other benefits and protections afforded to some families. Having denied equal marriage rights for some families and relationships, hopefully California will consider other forms of legal relationships. People who have willingly accepted the responsibilities afforded by marriage should be granted the benefits too.
Fortunately, this debate in California not only helped to bring this issue to the forefront and acquaint many people with loving families to whom they might never have been exposed, but it is also helping to mobilize people of all faiths who believe in inclusion and equality. As people of faith, we are compelled by our beliefs to work to rid society of unfair practices, and promote equality, justice, and freedom for all people.
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Equal Partners in Faith is a multi-faith, multi-racial network of religious leaders and people of faith committed to equality and diversity. Our diverse faith traditions and shared religious values lead us to affirm and defend the equality of all people, regardless of religion, race, ability, gender or sexual orientation. As people of faith, we actively oppose the manipulation of religion to promote exclusion and inequality.
Equal Partners in Faith is helping mainstream and progressive people of faith promote a more inclusive vision of religion and society. Please join us in this important work.
Equal Partners in Faith