Clergy, Legislators Hold Breakfast Meeting on Marriage Equality

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
March 17, 2009 12:00 am

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AUGUSTA – Leaders of the clergy group that is helping lead the drive to bring marriage equality to Maine residents held a breakfast meeting with legislators this morning to talk about the issue from a religious perspective.

The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry includes more than 150 clergy members from 14 faith traditions. Coalition members gathered at the Senator Inn this morning to share ideas on this issue with 24 members of the Legislature.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to talk to members of the Legislature about why we as clergy members see that marriage equality is very much in keeping with our faith traditions,” said Rev. Dr. Marvin Ellison, a Religious Coalition member and Professor at Bangor Theological Seminary.

“As a Christian theologian, I support marriage equality because I take the Bible seriously. Denying marriage to loving, committed adult same-sex couples is based on the sinful assumption that gay men and lesbians are not made in the image of God and do not deserve full equality under the law,” said Rev. Dr. Ellison.

The Breakfast featured a panel discussion with leaders representing many faith traditions and diverse areas of the state. These included Rabbi Carolyn Braun, (Jewish, Portland); Rev. Donald Rudalevige, (United Methodist, retired; Cape Elizabeth); Rev. Glen Miller, (American Baptist, Bangor); Rev. Calvin Sanborn, (Episcopal, Hallowell); Rev. Mark Doty, (United Church of Christ, Bangor); and Anne Underwood, a Topsham attorney who is Roman Catholic.

The marriage equality bill was introduced in January by Sen. Dennis Damon (D-Hancock) and has 64 co-sponsors in the Legislature. It would allow qualified same sex couples to marry, as well as require recognition of legal marriages performed in other states. The bill affirms the right of religious denominations to make their own determinations about whom they will join in marriage.

Several of the clergy on the panel described how their faith in God leads them to support equal treatment and marriage equality.

“How can we deny the fullest expression of relationship to those created as homosexual?” asked Rev. Don Rudalevige. “We ought, instead, to celebrate the desire for enduring, committed relationship, which is one of the deepest desires given to us by God.”

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