In the current arguments about marriage equality the issue of religious freedom is often raised by those opposed suggesting that conservative ckergy would be forced to marry same-sex couples. Three UU attorneys, Eric Isaacson, Susan Weaver and the Rev Silvio Nardoni have written an amicus brief and filed it in the 9th Circuit court that articulates this issue from the prspective of progressive religious voices. For a full text of that brief go HERE.
"And if equal justice and equal protection of law mean anything, it is that no one may be deprived of such a basic human right (as the civil right to marry) because of who they are, or what they believe."
So states the opening of the amicus brief filed on behalf of UULM, California and nine other faith organizations with the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, on October 25, 2010.
Over 700 faith leaders and religious organizations signed on to the brief, including over 100 Unitarian Universalist congregations, clergy and lay leaders.
The court has set December 6 as the date for hearing oral arguments on the appeal against Judge Vaughn Walker's decision on August 4, 2010 that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.
We have no way of knowing how long the court processes will take. In the meantime, our work to build safe and loving communities for all goes forward.
Read the full amicus brief and see the list of signers here.
The federal court has struck down Prop 8! A major victory for equal rights & for thousands of committed couples, families & friends in CA. If you are available, please join our many friends across the state in celebration!
Here are links to a schedule of events being planned: San Francisco, Mt. View (SF Peninsula), Sacramento and other cities near you.
Read Chief Judge Vaughn Walker's conclusions here.
View the amicus brief.
Harnessing Love’s Power to Stop Oppression
Unitarian Universalists are joining with our friends at the Council of Churches and CA Faith for Equality to offer this curriculum in interfaith settings.
Today, the California Council of Churches and other religious leaders and faith organizations representing millions of members filed an amicus curiae brief with the California Supreme Court urging the Court to invalidate Proposition 8. The brief argues that Proposition 8 poses a severe threat to the guarantee of equal protection for all and was not enacted through the constitutionally required process for such a dramatic change to the California Constitution.
- California Council of Churches, CA Faith for Equality, UULM-CA
Amicus Brief (2.3 MB PDF)
By Eric Alan Isaacson, Co-author of Interfaith Amicus Brief,
Attorney and UU from First UU Church, San Diego
Thanks to an interfaith effort led by the UULM and California Faith for Equality, religious voices calling for marriage equality are forcefully represented in the pending Marriage Cases, in which the California Supreme Court heard arguments on March 4.
Read complete article
" Prayers of thanksgiving and praise will be offered in houses of worship across California in gratitude for today’s watershed state Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex couples to get legally married.”
CA Supreme Court May 15, 2008 Opinion on Marriage Cases (172 pgs)
Amicus Brief supporting same-sex marriage
Historic Public Hearing, March 4th, 2008
Compelling Oral Arguments were heard on March 4th. The hearing has been archived, both video and audio- only, and you can watch it (or just listen) on the Supreme Court website.
Press Release, September 26, 2007
"Amici believe that same-sex couples should be afforded the same fundamental rights as different-sex couples to participate in the State-sanctioned institution of marriage."
UULM and the Supreme Court on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples
By Eric Alan Isaacson, Co-author of Interfaith Amicus Brief,
Attorney and UU First UU Church, San Diego
2007 Interfaith Amicus Brief for Marriage Equality
The California Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether it is a violation of the California Constitution to deny same sex couples access to civil marriage.
In the original 2005 case of Woo v Lockyer , marriage equality was upheld. That decision was appealed. In 2006 it was heard in the appellate court. An extensive interfaith amicus brief was submitted, but marriage equality was struck down by a 2 to 1 decision.
List of Signers on the 2006 Interfaith Amici Brief
March 14, 2005 California Court rules that denying access
to marriage to same gender couples violates the CA state constitution.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer held that “no
rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this State to opposite-sex
partners,” and that “the parade of horrible social ills
envisioned by the opponents of same-sex marriage is not a necessary
result from recognizing that there is a fundamental right to choose
who one wants to marry.”
Powerful oral argument
by the lead attorney that contains examples of
the impact felt by couples denied access to marriage.
decision by Judge Kramer, a Republican who was appointed by former
Governor Pete Wilson
v. San Francisco (424K PDF) decision declaring SF Mayor
Newsom had overstepped his authority and voiding the marriages
licenses issued in San Francisco.
The Road to Civil Marriage Equality in the U.S.
History of Marriage
With special attention to California. Compiled by Greg
McConigle, M. Div., April 2005 for the Unitarian Universalist Legislative
Bible and Same-Gender Marriage
by Mary A. Tolbert
Pulpit Editorial: United we Stand or Divided We Fall
by Stephanie Stolte
From the UU Fellowship of Stanislaus County in Modesto
This powerful statement was given as a pulpit editorial on October 16,
2005. It is a call to action to stop the ballot initiatives currently in
circulation that will amend the California state constitution to take away
existing domestic partner rights and responsibilities from same gender
couples, and prohibit civil marriage.
A Declaration of Religious Support for Equal Civil Marriage Rights (40KPDF)
History of Marriage Letter
(224K PDF) to Senator Walsh of Massachusetts
by Stephen Schloesser, S. J., Assistant History Professor, Boston College
"Freedom to Marry": a Gay Marriage Documentary
"When newly-elected San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom allowed same-sex couples to marry in February 2004, he created a political firestorm that has yet to be extinguished. Luckily for gaycouples everywhere, Laurie York and Carmen Goodyear were on-scene with their video camera, and their friends, to document this historic moment in gay and lesbian history." —Review from 2004 Southwest Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
Note: one of the couples featured in this video is Don Williams and David Jones of the First Unitarian Universalist Society in San Francisco
UUA Resources: news coverage, resolutions, etc.
Links to Organizations
California Faith for Equality
Marriage Equality USA-California
Yes On Equality
America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Unitarian Universalist Washington Office for Advocacy
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