Oregon voters will be asked to consider marriage equality in 2014 - and this time people of faith will be leading the charge.
This morning Oregon United for Marriage launched a campaign to qualify a measure to make marriage equality the law of the land. A packed church hall was the site of a diverse faith leaders breakfast where clergy and others became some of the first to sign the petetion.
When the General Synod of the United Church of Christ endorsed marriage equality in 2005, they noted:
"As religious leaders, we stand in solidarity with Oregon United for Marriage," said the Rev. Tara Wilkins, pastor of Bridgeport United Church of Christ and executive director of the Community of Welcoming Congregations. "Many of our religious traditions support the freedom to marry, and we believe the time is now to make it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry in Oregon." Rev. Wilkins notes that the proposed initiative protects religious freedom, and no religious community will be forced to marry same-sex couples. Over 250 clergy and faith leaders have already signed on in support of the Freedom to marry in Oregon. "Marriage is about families and the freedom to marry reflects our values of treating all of our congregants the same, said Rev. Wilkins".
In that spirit, I signed my name to the petition this morning as a United Church of Christ minister serving two Reconciling Congregations in the United Methodist Church.
Some religious leaders in Oregon will obviously oppose marriage equality. But they can no longer claim to speak for God or for the church universal. A generation ago many churches used the Bible to oppose interacial marriage. They were wrong then. Many Christians today believe it is wrong to use to Bible and the teachings of Jesus, which call for inclusion and justice - to oppose marriage equality today.