John Thomas calls on senators to 'respect U.S. Constitution' and vote against marriage amendment
June 6, 2006

Statement of opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J. Resolution 1)
on behalf of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ
by the Rev. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President
June 5, 2006

On July 4, 2005, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ acted courageously to declare freedom, affirming marriage equality, affirming the civil right of same gender couples to have their relationships recognized as marriages by the state, and encouraging our local churches to celebrate and bless those marriages.

This action continues the long trajectory of resolutions by the General Synod which have affirmed the full human dignity of all persons, encouraged the welcome and affirmation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons as member and ministers in the church and recognized and respected the full citizenship of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, advocating for their full and equal civil rights.

The General Synod has acted both out of a concern for justice, demanding that the present discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons be ended, as well as our of a theological conviction that same gender couples are as capable of fulfilling the vocation of marriage as heterosexual couples, a vocation described in our marriage rite as one in which couples offer each other mutual care and companionship, bear witness to God's great gift of joy for them and for others exemplified in the story of Jesus at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, and in the intimacy of their relationship, represent the intimacy of Christ's love for the Church. Many of our pastors have presided at the marriages of gay and lesbian couples which have taken place in the sanctuaries of many United Church of Christ congregations.
Through their action, the General Synod has voiced its opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, which proposes to single out same gender couples for discrimination in the U.S. Constitution, denying them access to the full rights, benefits and responsibilities accorded heterosexual couples through civil, legal marriage. Thus, on behalf of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, I call-on the members of the United States Senate to respect the religious diversity that exists in our country, respect the U.S. Constitution and its longstanding tradition of expanding rights, rather than restricting them, and urge Senators to vote against the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment.

Rev. John, H. Thomas,
General Minister and President,
United Church of Christ

Critics say President Bush and Republican supporters are promoting the amendment to appeal to their party's conservative base amid declining polls in a congressional election year. The measure is not expected to pass in a Senate vote later this week as it faces stiff opposition from Democrats and Republican moderates. A similar amendment failed in both the Senate and House of Representatives in 2004.

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