Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Integrity Welcomes Supreme Court Rulings; Our Work is Not Done

Integrity USA welcomes today’s decision by the Supreme Court to strike down section three of the Defense of Marriage Act.  This means that lesbian or gay couples must be treated fairly by the federal government and so, for the first time, married same-gender couples will receive the same 1,138 benefits, rights and protections provided to heterosexuals on the basis of marital status. This removes the inequality that had been enshrined in federal law and will provide greater protection for married same-gender couples and their families. At the same time it increases the inequality between those gay couples who live in the thirteen states that have marriage equality, and those who do not.

"I am delighted to learn that the Supreme Court has determined this law to be unconstitutional,” said the Rev. Jon Richardson, Integrity’s VP for National Affairs.  “While I am confident that this is good news for LGBT people across the country, I look forward to learning the many ways that this development will be implemented in the months and years to come.  While there is great cause for celebration, we know that the work for full equality must continue."

Regarding California’s Proposition 8, Integrity USA is saddened that the Supreme Court has declined to rule because it determined that the proposition’s proponents did not have standing in the Court. This is good news for all Californians because it means that once again marriage licenses will be issued to same-gender couples, and once again wedding bells will ring in the state. California rejoins the other twelve states which currently enjoy marriage equality. However it leaves the basic question of whether states can constitutionally maintain bans on gay marriage untouched and unanswered.

Since 1976 the Episcopal Church has been committed to working for civil rights for gay and lesbian people. Its work, together with the work of other churches, allied organizations and thousands of dedicated individuals has resulted in this enormous leap forward for equality in our country. “I am so grateful for all the people who have worked, and will continue to work for true equality in this country,” said Rev. Caroline Hall, President of Integrity USA, “this is a day Californians have dreamed of for so long, and one which can bring hope to all LGBTQ Americans that gradually equality is coming.”

Rev. Richardson said  "While I rejoice that marriage equality is returning to California, I remain disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to act as broadly as they could have in spreading marriage equality across the country.  We continue to pray for an end to discrimination in all its forms, both in our laws, and in the hearts of all people.  The Episcopal Church has been a growing beacon of hope for LGBT Christians for 37 years - leading the way for our wider society.  We believe that above all else, the Christian call is for all people to act with love.  Today we are closer to realizing that dream, and we will not stop working until it is a reality for all people."

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