Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, issued the following statement today in response to Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s decision to use All Souls Unitarian Church as the backdrop for signing the city’s historic marriage equality bill. Rev. Gaddy is the author of Same Gender Marriage and Religious Freedom: A Call to Quiet Conversations and Public Debates.
My elation over the signing of Washington D.C.’s marriage equality bill was weakened only by the announcement that the ceremony would take place in a house of worship. The enactment of this legislation is an important step forward for the LGBT community and the rights of all Americans. It is one for which the Mayor and city council should be commended.
By holding the signing ceremony at a house of worship, the Fenty Administration and All Souls Church sent the dangerous signal that one set of religious beliefs trump another and that marriage is strictly a religious act. In reality, we should move the debate on marriage equality out of the realm of religion and scripture and toward a discussion based on the U.S. Constitution.
Faith is not a political tool. And houses of worship are not appropriate backdrops for government actions. We risk weakening the vitality of religion and the integrity of government when we fail to respect the boundaries between the two.
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.