Nearly 2000 faith leaders from across country urge SCOTUS to rule for the freedom to marry

Today, March 6, nearly 2000 faith leaders from all 50 states urged the United States Supreme Court to rule in favor of the freedom to marry this summer.

The brief outlined how the freedom to marry is integral to our country's commitment to religious freedom:

By reversing the judgment of the court below without reliance on religiously based arguments, and by affirming the constitutional promise of equal treatment for different- and same-sex couples, this Court will ensure that civil law neither favors nor disfavors any particular religious viewpoint. Requiring equal treatment for different- and same-sex couples with respect to civil marriage will, in fact, reaffirm the religious liberty fundamental to this nation’s founding identity. When the freedom to marry is fully respected, all couples will have the right to a solemnized union before a justice of the peace, while all individual faith communities will retain the right to decide who among such couples may seek religious sanction of their union.

The signers include Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church; more than a dozen Bishops of The Episcopal Church in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee (all members of the House of Bishops of the General Convention); General Synod of the United Church of Christ; the Jewish Theological Seminary; the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association; the Union for Reform Judaism; the Unitarian Universalist Association; the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; the Covenant Network of Presbyterians; and nearly 2,000 individual clergy from a broad range of religious traditions, including: Lutheran Bishop William Gafkjen of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod; United Methodist Bishops (ret.) C. Joseph Sprague of Columbus, OH and Melvin G. Talbert, Hermitage, TN; Rev Dr. CT Vivian, Founder of CT Vivian Leadership Institute from GA; David Key, Director of Baptist Studies of Emory University's Candler School in GA; Richard Cizik, Rev. Dr., Anglican, President, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good in Fredericksburg, VA; Emilie Townes, Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society, American Baptist Church at the Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN; Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ in Cleveland, OH; and Lindsay Andreolli-Comstock, Executive Director of the Alliance of Baptists, and Beatitudes Society in Raleigh, NC.

Several faith based organizations helped to recruit signers to the brief including the Religious Institute, Reconciling Ministries Network, ReconcilingWorks, More Light Presbyterians, and Central Conference of American Rabbis among others. Additional outreach was led by the authors of the brief, the legal firm of Kramer Levin as well as by Christopher Hayes of Borowsky & Hayes, LLP.

On January 16, the United States Supreme Court announced that this year, they will hear arguments in a case on the question of whether same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry and if anti-marriage laws nationwide should be struck down as unconstitutional. The Court granted review of an out-of-step ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which ruled in November against the freedom to marry in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. In each of these cases, federal judges had ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for all, and the 6th Circuit reversed each decision.

Oral arguments in this case will be heard on April 28.