NY Times shut out progressive religious voices in article about constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage

››› ››› KURT DONALDSON

In an article about a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, New York Times reporter David D. Kirkpatrick, while detailing the support of many religious conservatives for the amendment, ignored significant support for same-sex marriage among other religious groups.

In an April 23 article about a petition signed by 50 prominent religious leaders in support of a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, New York Times reporter David D. Kirkpatrick, while detailing the support of many religious conservatives for the amendment, ignored significant support for same-sex marriage among other religious groups. For example, more than 500 religious leaders have endorsed an open letter on marriage equality.

In the article "A Religious Push Against Gay Unions," Kirkpatrick noted that "seven Roman Catholic cardinals and about a half-dozen archbishops," as well as "many influential evangelical Protestants, a few rabbis and an official of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" support the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The article also stated:

Organizers said the petition had brought together cardinals from both the left and right sides of the United States bishops' conference, including the liberal Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles and the conservative Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, as well as Cardinals Edward M. Egan of New York, Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, William H. Keeler of Baltimore and Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston.

But the article did not mention the numerous religious denominations, organizations, and clergy who have expressed support for same-sex marriage.

For example, the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing sponsored "An Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Marriage Equality," which cited "strong civil liberties arguments for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from the legal institution of marriage." The letter, with over 500 endorsements from religious leaders -- 10 times the support for the petition against same-sex marriage mentioned in the Times article -- noted the following religious support for same-sex marriage. From "An Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Marriage Equality":

  • Several religious denominations have endorsed their clergy performing commitment or union ceremonies for same sex couples. These include the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform Judaism), the Ecumenical Catholic Church, Ohalah, Alliance for Jewish Renewal, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
  • The United Church of Christ, the American Baptist Churches, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and various Quaker groups leave the decision to perform same sex unions to their clergy, congregations, or local governing bodies. The Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Episcopal Church in the United States of America allow their clergy to bless same sex unions, if their clergy do not call them marriage.
  • Several denominations have endorsed the rights of same sex couples to legally marry and/or opposed federal and state efforts to deny marriage equality.
  • In 1996, the Unitarian Universalist Association passed a resolution in support of marriage equality. The same year, the Central Conference of American Rabbis passed a resolution supporting the "right of gay and lesbian couples to share fully and equally in the rights of civil marriage." The Executive Council of the United Church of Christ in April 2004 affirmed "equal rights for all couples who seek to have their relationships recognized by the state." Other religious organizations that either support civil marriage for same sex couples and/or who are on record opposing the denial of equal rights to same sex couples include the American Friends Service Committee, Dignity USA, Ecumenical Catholic Church, Interfaith Working Group, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Churches.
  • More than 2250 religious leaders have endorsed the Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, which calls for full inclusion of sexual minorities, including their ordination and performance of same sex unions.
  • More than 4000 religious leaders have endorsed the marriage resolution sponsored by Freedom to Marry.

The Coalition Against Discrimination in the Constitution, a group dedicated to "organiz[ing] clergy who strongly oppose any attempt to write discrimination into the United States Constitution" through its Faith for Fairness website, also cited support from more than 100 national organizations, "including many national religious groups." Groups listed as supporters include: Alliance of Baptists, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Dignity USA, Disciples of Christ Church, Episcopal Church USA, and many others.

Hundreds of churches and religious congregations also perform holy unions and often bless same-sex weddings that are performed in jurisdictions where such marriages are legal.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBTQ
Network/Outlet
The New York Times
Stories/Interests
Religion
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