Press Conference Speakers and Photos
June 5, 2006
Clergy for Fairness, an ad hoc coalition of religious leaders who oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, held a press conference today to respond to President Bush. They announced that over 2,000 individual clergy have signed a letter asking the Senate to reject the amendment and 22 religious denominations and religious groups have signed a separate letter also urging senators to reject the amendment. For more information please view our full press release.
The Rev. Dr. Stan Hastey
“Two years ago Congress wisely rejected a cynical effort to amend the Constitution for short-term political gain. We urge senators and representatives of both parties to do so again. We must not allow those who concoct political strategies during an election season to polarize the public and undermine the Constitution. It is unjust, indeed unthinkable, that two-thirds of the Congress would engage in such demagoguery as represented in this despicable amendment. It must be rejected and rejected decisively.”
Dr. Kenneth L. Samuel
“This is a human rights issue; and there are those of us who believe—certainly I do from a Christian clergy person’s perspective—that more than God is anything else, God is love. Congressman John Lewis has said that he has lived through the beatings and bitterness of bigotry, segregation and discrimination for many, many years. Congressman John Lewis has said that this current rhetoric of anti-gay, homophobic language smacks of the same kind of bigotry that he had to encounter as he fought to bring down the walls of segregation in the South. We cannot allow bigotry to continue to live without being challenged and certainly we cannot allow bigotry to continue to flourish in the name of God.”
Rabbi Joui Hessel
“In recent months, the leaders of this glorious nation have taken the liberty of spreading their interpretations of the bible as if they were the actual text. I have heard time and time again about the dangers of granting homosexual couples the right to marry, if they so choose. It has come to the point in our country, a country that professes religious freedom, where our government is poised to legalize a lesser status to people of homosexual orientation. We in America do not live in a caste system, there are no untouchables, there are no slaves, and there is no feudal system that places one person above another. The fact remains that the Federal Marriage Amendment will, in a sense, create a new societal structure that has no place in a country founded on religious pluralism and protection for minorities.”
The Rev. Robert M. Hardies
“Let’s be honest with ourselves. There isn’t anyone in Washington who is naïve enough to believe that the introduction of this legislation now in two consecutive election cycles is anything but a politically motivated effort to win votes by demonizing a class of citizens.
“There are those who say to me, ‘Hey, that’s politics. In an election year you can’t blame us for tossing a little red meat to our base.’ I say to them, ‘When your red meat are my parishioners—people I love and whom I’m responsible to God for caring for—then you’d better believe I’m going to blame you and point out your hypocrisy.’
“For the President of the United States to write discrimination into the Constitution in order to boost his poll numbers is shameful, and a violation of his stewardship of the Constitution. But it’s worse than that. To use another human being for one’s own political gain is beyond shameful, it’s a sin. If the President were to go back and read the Book of Genesis he would be reminded that there it says all human beings are created in the image of God, and that they therefore possess sacred worth and dignity. You don’t use another human being this way. You don’t demonize them for your own political gain. That’s the very definition of sin.”
The Rev. Dr. Katie Day
“Currently there is a tremendous variety of understandings among people of faith about the meanings of marriage—a variety which reflects the perspectives of society at large.
“Some denominations have discerned that it is consistent with their beliefs to marry same sex couples. Other denominations have decided that that is incompatible with their theology. Other groups, such as the Lutherans and Presbyterians, are very much still in the discernment process, and could go either way or perhaps somewhere in between.
“But what all these groups have in common is an understanding that the mystery of human love, and living lives of integrity as people of faith are best considered within spiritual communities, as recognized by our constitution. We are struggling with a faith issue, a moral issue, a theological issue. The FMA would usurp the discernment process of these two religious bodies—and in fact all religious bodies. It would substitute the judgment of the state for the judgment of religious institutions for matters which are quintessentially religious. I can think of no clearer violation of our historic separation of church and state.”