PSR applauds California Supreme Court's historic decision for same-sex marriage equality

May 15, 2008
Author: 
Richard Lindsay

Pacific School of Religion applauds today’s ruling by the California Supreme Court that affirms the full equality of same-sex couples under the California state constitution. PSR encourages all faith communities to follow the court’s lead in affirming the civil rights of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

“PSR has been a longtime supporter of the rights of LGBT people and celebrates this historic decision,” said Bill McKinney, president of Pacific School of Religion.

Mary A. Tolbert, executive director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at PSR said, “Today the Court declared in no uncertain terms that lesbian and gay couples should enjoy the same civil rights and legal protections as heterosexual couples.” Tolbert added, “Civil marriage equality is a matter of social justice. For this reason, we hope religious communities will celebrate this decision with us.”

Both McKinney and Tolbert stressed that although the seminary works to enlist progressive faith communities to support religious recognition of same-sex marriage, the Court’s decision was based on values of fairness and equality important to all Americans.

“There’s a critical difference here between marriage as a civil contract and marriage as a religious covenant,” Tolbert said. “Every faith community, regardless of stance on religious recognition of same-sex relationships, has a stake in securing equal access to the benefits of this civil contract. As the court made clear today, California will not tolerate second-class status for any of its citizens. Neither should people of faith.”

“Ultimately, it’s a question of equal rights, not religion,” McKinney said.

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry provides training and education to help faith communities that work for full inclusion of same-sex couples in religious celebrations of marriage. A number of faith traditions currently bless same-sex relationships, including Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Christian denominations of the United Church of Christ, the Metropolitan Community Churches, some congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), some Episcopal churches, and some Baptist churches. The web-based CLGS Marriage Project (www.clgs.org/marriage) is designed to assist religious communities in these important efforts.

Members of the CLGS staff are available for media interviews on same-sex marriage and a variety of other topics related to sexuality and religion.

Founded in 2000, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion is the first seminary-based center for the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. The Center works to transform faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion and sexuality through education, research, community building, and advocacy. Visit the Center's Web site at www.clgs.org or call 510-849-8206. For more on Pacific School of Religion, see www.psr.edu.