Washington, D.C. – Interfaith Alliance praised the decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declaring California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement in response to the ruling:
Today’s decision by the 9th Circuit declaring that California’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution is good for marriage, it is good for religion and it is good for the people of California. How the government defines marriage must be rooted in the Constitution – as is this decision. Doing so in no way inhibits the right of a church or other house of worship to base its definition on religious doctrine.
To the religious institutions that would attempt to redefine the inherent concept of religious freedom by arguing that today’s ruling somehow diminishes religious freedom, Interfaith Alliance holds that in fact, the ruling makes very clear that legalizing same sex marriage has no impact whatsoever on religious freedom. A church that opposes same sex marriage is under no more legal pressure to perform such unions now than it was before the ruling. In fact, no religion would ever be required to condone same-gender marriage, and no member of the clergy would ever be required to perform a wedding ceremony not in accordance with his or her religious beliefs. While I hope that those who oppose same sex marriage will eventually change their position, they are under no legal requirement to do so, but neither should they stand in the way of those of us who embrace marriage equality.
While we are sure that supporters of Proposition 8 will appeal the ruling, we hope today’s decision will be upheld, enshrining marriage equality for same-sex couples in the State of California – and paving the way for the rest of the country to follow its lead.
Rev. Gaddy is the author of Same-Gender Marriage and Religious Freedom: A Call to Quiet Conversations and Public Debates,in which he argues that discussions of same-gender marriage should be based on the Constitution rather than scripture.
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.