In May the California Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution would not permit the state to treat same-sex couples any differently than anyone else—and therefore required the state to allow their marriages. Thousands of same-sex couples have since taken advantage of their new opportunity to solemnize civil marriages recognized by the state. It's been a bit of a "Love Rush."
In the November election, Proposition 8 would change the state constitution by outlawing same-sex marriage.
Like the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech, the freedom to marry is fundamental to our society. Marriage allows couples to make legal their lifetime commitment to one another, and gives couples the opportunity to fully take responsibility for each other.
Religious groups and clergy members have a constitutionally protected right to recognize or refuse to recognize religious marriages based on the tenets of their particular faith. That has not changed and will not change. But Proposition 8 would unfairly strip LGBT people of full civil rights.
Where's the Episcopal Church on this issue?
- General Convention 2006 in Columbus passed Resolution A095 that said, "Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the Episcopal Church's historical support of gay and lesbian persons as children of God and entitled to full civil rights; and be it further Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the 71st General Convention's action calling upon municipal council, state legislatures and the United States Congress to approve measures giving gay and lesbian couples protection[s] such as: bereavement and family leave policies; health benefits; pension benefits; real-estate transfer tax benefits; and commitments to mutual support enjoyed by non-gay married couples and be it further Resolved, That the 75th General Convention oppose any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions."
- After the decision affirming marriage equality under the state constitution, Bishop Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California called on his diocese to "walk a journey" that included "combating a ballot initiative this November that will attempt to take away the rights recently recognized by the California Supreme Court." Statements from other California bishops are expected shortly.
How can you help?
- If you live in California, visit http://noonprop8.com/action/ or http://www.cafaithforequality.org/act.html for a number of concrete actions you can take to defeat Proposition 8. For example, the campaign will be making thousands of phone calls to persuade voters to preserve fair treatment for all. You can volunteer to staff the phone bank at http://eqfed.org/equalityforall/volunteer.html.
- Wherever you live, you can help pay the costs of getting our message out. Donate to the campaign at https://secure.ga4.org/01/equalityforall.
Polls show that this campaign to preserve full civil rights for LGBT people in California CAN be won at the ballot box—but only if we ALL help.
CTB Field Organizer