The Interfaith Alliance
I write to you today as the president of The Interfaith Alliance, a nonpartisan, national grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the positive and healing role of religion in public life in our nation. On behalf of our membership of 150,000 people of faith and good will who come from over 75 faith traditions, I am asking you to soundly reject the Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J. Res. 1) sponsored by Senator Wayne Allard.
THIS AMENDMENT IS AN AFFRONT TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY & VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTIONAL SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
The Interfaith Alliance opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment because it shows an indisputable disregard for religious liberty and a fundamental disrespect for the diversity of approaches to marriage within faith traditions. We believe that people of faith in a religiously pluralistic society are bound together by shared principles of compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity.
While pronounced differences exist within our collective religious traditions in regard to the recognition of same-gender relationships, The Interfaith Alliance strives to model a dialogue between faith traditions that upholds our shared principles while neither critiquing nor evaluating the theology or practice of any faith tradition. No court or legislature can require religious institutions to either perform or ban marital ceremonies. Indeed, houses of worship have the freedom to (or not) consecrate marriages on whatever theological grounds they choose.
THIS AMENDMENT IGNORES AMERICA’S GREAT RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY
Few rituals within religious traditions are as sacred and central to the identity of a religious body as marriage. Indeed, the Constitution appropriately bars any court or any legislature from requiring a religious institution to perform these rites and further, allows houses of worship the freedom to limit marriages on whatever theological grounds they choose.
Regardless of judicial and legislative decisions which define a civil marriage within a geographical jurisdiction, The Interfaith Alliance honors and respects the sovereignty of individual faith traditions to determine what they choose to recognize as a religious marriage. This is, in our view, consistent with our primary mission of upholding and strengthening religious liberty.
Respecting the rights of those in our diverse communities of faith who deem same-gender marriage to be consistent with their religious creed ensures that the United States will continue to be the most religiously pluralistic country in the world. We firmly believe that it is not the purview of our government to enshrine in our laws the beliefs of one particular faith tradition over others.
THIS AMENDMENT REPRESENTS AN HISTORIC CONSTITUTIONAL REGRESSION FOR PARTISAN POLITICAL GAIN
Finally, our call to unite the nation under the banner of mutual respect for human dignity requires us to ensure that all Americans are protected equally under the law. Any amendment to our Constitution which denies some Americans the same rights as afforded their neighbors demeans us all.
We urge you to preserve religious freedom and dignity for all and defeat this unnecessary Constitutional amendment. If you would like more information regarding our position on this issue, please feel free to contact Kim Baldwin or Preet Singh, 202-639-6370.
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
President, The Interfaith Alliance