In what can only be described as a massive landmark for trans* rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — the federal government agency responsible for administering all anti-discrimination laws — just released a decision stating that discriminating on the…
At its congregational meeting on March 25, United Church of Chapel Hill, U.C.C., by unanimous vote endorsed the following resolution:
“We believe LGBT people should have the rights of all citizens including the right to marry. Thus by resolution adopted at a congregational meeting on March 25, 2012, the congregation of the United Church of Chapel Hill pledges action to encourage our citizens to vote against Amendment One.”
Consistent with this resolution and as co-pastor of United Church of Chapel Hill, I urge the voters of our state to vote “no” on Amendment One on May 8. Our Christian denomination, The United Church of Christ, has been marrying same-gender couples since the early ’80s. We are pleading with our state and with our country to honor our religious freedom to do so. We believe that no right is more precious than the freedom to enter into marriage, thus in 2005 the General Synod of the United Church of Christ affirmed “marriage equality” for heterosexual and same-gender couples.
We should recognize that marriage controversies are nothing new: Two hundred years ago there was debate about whether slaves should be allowed to marry; 150 years ago it was whether married women should remain their husband’s property or whether women should be regarded as their own persons with full rights and responsibilities; 45 years ago there was controversy concerning the freedom of interracial couples to marry. More recently the freedom to marry has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as fundamental to our humanity – in the mid 1980s the court ruled on whether incarcerated prisoners on death row retained the right to marry even though their marriages would never be consummated. The court said “yes,” death row inmates should have the freedom to marry because it found this freedom to be a person-defining freedom, essential to human identity and community. Marriage, the justices affirmed, is a fundamental human right.
Christian ethicist Marvin Ellison has written, “To deny any group of our citizens the right to marry is not a minor inconvenience nor merely unpleasant, but rather an exclusion that is dehumanizing, oppressive, unjust, and violates the religious freedom of Christians who recognize these marriages.”
Let’s protect the fundamental freedoms of North Carolina’s citizens: the freedom to practice one’s faith according to the dictates of one’s church and the freedom to marry the person of one’s choosing. Let’s protect all families and children in North Carolina. On May 8, vote “no” on Amendment One."