US clergy members unite to oppose same-sex marriage ban

Angela D’Amboise | May 26, 2006

Rabbi Craig Axler
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Clergy members of various faiths have formed a coalition aimed at launching a petition drive to block the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill on a vote along party lines last week, and the full Senate is expected to vote on it the week of June 5.

Thirty-five representatives of the coalition, Clergy for Fairness, told reporters at a news conference that more than 1,600 clergy members had signed an online petition against the amendment. The Senate Judiciary Committee past the bill last week – it moves to a full Senate vote June 5.

Representatives for Clergy for Fairness said the group’s Web site, clergyforfairness.org, has postcards for people to print out and send to members of Congress.

An electronic postcard should be available by week’s end, Joe Conn, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said. The group was a part of the lobbying effort but is not involved with the coalition.

According to the Times, the coalition is largely comprised of clergy members and groups affiliated with mainline Protestant churches, including: the Interfaith Alliance; Jewish groups including the Anti-Defamation League, the Union for Reform Judaism and the National Council of Jewish Women; Sikh groups; and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

Political analysts are pretty unanimous in agreeing the bill is unlikely to pass this year. But state campaigns to ban same-sex marriage were met with overwhelming success in 2004, and conservatives are plowing full speed ahead in an attempt to mobilize voters.

Members of the coalition acknowledged at Monday’s conference that opposing the amendment did not mean the group was of one mind on homosexuality or same-sex marriage, but felt passing the amendment made the Constitution an instrument of discrimination against a class of citizens, according to the Times.

"When one group is singled out for discrimination, it's not long before other groups will be singled out, too," Rabbi Craig Axler of Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen, Pa. told the Times. "It's the first time we see the Constitution in danger of enshrining discrimination against one party, one class, and to remain silent as a Jew is unconscionable." – Issued by Gay Link Content

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