Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance has released Same-Gender Marriage & Religious Freedom: A Call to Quiet Conversations and Public Debates, a paper authored by its president, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy. In the paper, Rev. Gaddy calls for a new national discussion on marriage based on the premise that “law, not scripture, is the foundation of government regulations related to marriage in our nation.”

Rev. Gaddy’s paper can be read at: https://interfaithalliance.org/equality

“My purpose in writing this paper is as simple as the subject of the paper is complex,” said Rev. Gaddy. “I want to find a way for people with contradictory beliefs, religions, values and opinions to live together without violating the basic nature of our democracy. I am motivated by confidence in the power of religion to affect reconciliation, and I am also a patriot who embodies the unwavering commitment to freedom and justice integral to the American experience.”

The paper, in which Rev. Gaddy expresses support for same-gender marriage, seeks to shift the perspective on LGBT equality from problem to solution. To do so, Rev. Gaddy advocates for moving from scriptural argument to religious freedom agreement, and to address the issue of equality as informed by the U.S. Constitution.

Gaddy’s hope is that this change will allow same-gender couples to receive basic civil rights benefits without impacting a religious organization’s right to marry only people it judges worthy of its blessing.

“The First Amendment’s religious liberty provisions ensure that government cannot impose a particular view of marriage on religious institutions, or limit their speech as it relates to marriage,” added Rev. Gaddy. “But marriage in this country is a civil issue, and all citizens deserve the same constitutional rights. The U.S. Constitution’s religious freedom clauses actually emerged from devotion to the very principles that I seek to preserve and strengthen in the outcome of the public debate of same-gender marriage.”

Remaining true to Interfaith Alliance’s broader goals, the paper encourages citizens of diverse backgrounds to find areas of commonality, and to practice civility when engaging in conversations with people who hold different opinions.

“We must move forward in this conversation with appreciation for all Americans and the importance of religious freedom in this country,” Gaddy said. “By making this the starting point for the conversation we can begin to have real dialogue and look for resolutions.”

Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.