WASHINGTON – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement celebrating the legalization of same-gender marriage in Rhode Island and now all of New England:
I congratulate Rhode Island on becoming the tenth state in our nation to grant marriage equality to all couples and to recognize that our civil laws on marriage cannot continue to be based on one theological perspective of who can or should be allowed to marry. Given our nation’s constitutional commitment to religious freedom, nothing in Rhode Island’s enactment of marriage equality will deprive anyone of the right to practice the teachings of their respective religious institutions.
Though I am pleased legislators take protecting religious freedom seriously, the implicit message that continues to be sent by religious exemptions in such legislation is that the First Amendment does not already provide adequate protections for religious freedom – I believe that it does. Ensuring the civil rights of the LGBT community and respecting religious freedom for all persons are not mutually exclusive. It is a victory for equality and for religious liberty when our leaders act to correct public policies shaped by some groups’ religious convictions.
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 www.interfaithalliance.org.