Joint Press Release of Unitarian Universalist Association and No On 1 Campaign
Just got the following presser:
Unitarian Universalist Association Stands on the Side of Love in Maine, Opposes Question 1
Portland, Maine (Friday, September 11, 2009) —NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) today jointly released the following statement from UUA President Rev. Peter Morales.
The UUA is a faith community of more than 1,000 self-governing congregations that bring to the world a vision of religious freedom, tolerance and social justice:
The May 2009 passage of marriage equality legislation in Maine was a historic step towards justice for same-sex couples and their families. We owe tremendous thanks to the citizens of Maine, including many Unitarian Universalists, and to their elected officials who supported this legislation.
But now marriage equality is in danger in Maine. I call upon supportive Mainers to reaffirm their commitment to fairness for all families by voting against repeal of the legislation recognizing same-sex marriage.
I know that Unitarian Universalists in Maine will continue to be at the forefront of the struggle for equality. Commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every person is at the core of Unitarian Universalism, and Unitarian Universalists in Maine have a strong history of support for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender (BGLT) rights. In 1996, the Unitarian Universalist Association called for full legal recognition for same-sex couples nationwide, and our faith community has advocated in support of marriage equality ever since. We will continue this witness in Maine in the coming months.
Unitarian Universalists will stand on the side of love. I invite you to stand with us. The UUA has supported civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people for several decades. The denomination voted in 1996 to advocate for full legal marriage equality for same-sex couples. For more information on the UUA, including recent press releases and news articles, please visit our online press room.
Shelby Meyerhoff, Public Witness Specialist
Unitarian Universalist Association
25 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
Mark Sullivan, Communications Director
NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality
550 Forest Avenue
Portland, Maine 04101
Below the fold, the April 22 public hearing testimony of Rev. Mark Worth of Castine.
My name is Mark Worth. I’m the minister of the Unitarian Universalist church in Castine, and I live in Penobscot. I am speaking today on behalf of the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine, who share a belief in legal equality for gay and lesbian couples. The Religious Coalition strongly urges you to support LD 1020, “An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom.” We are a group of clergy and leaders from many diverse traditions. We are Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians, Unitarian Universalists and Swedenborgians, Jews, Native Americans, Quakers and clergy of the United Church of Christ, and I apologize to those who I may have left out; these are to name just a few. We lead congregations in Dexter and Rockland, Alfred and Auburn, Hancock and Limestone, Fort Kent and Fryeburg and all of the places in between.
What unites us is our unwavering support for equal legal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Some of our members are offering written testimony, and as of today 166 Maine religious leaders have signed our declaration in support of marriage equality. A few of them are here today. In my own religious tradition, we believe that love is the most holy and universal of bonds. Love should be judged not by the gender of its partners, but by the mutuality and tenderness of its expression.
We recognize that there is passionate debate about Biblical interpretation and about whether marriage between same-sex partners should be given religious approval. We are here to bear witness that many religious leaders and religious communities honor and bless the love and marriage of same-sex partners. But your job today is not to settle ecclesiastical disputes, but rather to ensure justice and fairness for all Maine citizens, without favor or prejudice.
Some religious leaders say that marriage would be meaningless if procreation is not possible. I strongly disagree. My wife and I have been married for nearly thirty years, and have no children, and yet our marriage gives great meaning to our lives. Why would clergy like myself support marriage equality for lesbians and gays? Because it is good, right and fair. I believe in marriage. Good marriages benefit the entire community. Legal marriage promotes family stability and cohesiveness. Marriage promotes financial security, long-term commitment and faithfulness. I believe these are good things. They are good for straight families and they are good for gay families.
And so I make a conservative case for marriage equality: marriage promotes family values that should be available to all families, not just straight families. These are our family values: in our family, everyone is valued. Because we believe in fairness and equal treatment, all families deserve access to the legal and financial protections and the human dignity contained in civil marriage. Therefore, we urge you to pass LD 1020 without amendment or revision. Thank you.