Written by J. Bennett Guess
Here is the text of Schuenemeyer's statement:
"I applaud the U.S. Senators who voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) for the courage they demonstrated and urge the members of the House to demonstrate similar courage and conviction if and when the FMA comes before them. In yesterday's 49-48 vote, the U.S. Senate acted to respect the U.S. Constitution and its long history of expanding rights, rather than restricting them. They respected the American people -- all Americans -- by not moving forward a Constitutional amendment that would have established one particular religious view of marriage as the law for every person in America.
"Proponents of the FMA have tried to make this a populist issue, pointing to the several states which have successfully passed various ballot initiatives to limit marriage to one man and one woman. But opponents of the FMA recognized that the nation is deeply divided on marriage equality and that a hallmark of the U.S. Constitution is its respect for the rights of minorities, whom it seeks to protect from the tyranny of the majority.
"Many of the Senators who spoke on the FMA acknowledged that it is being used as a wedge issue in a midterm election year, just as it was in the 2004 election, and that playing politics with real people's lives is wrong. They realized that the FMA would not serve the welfare of the people -- discrimination never does -- and that there are many more pressing concerns before them, such as the war in Iraq and the economy.
"The General Synod of the United Church of Christ clearly expressed its opposition to the FMA on July 4, 2005, at the 25th General Synod meeting in Atlanta. The General Synod supported the separation of church and state, recognizing the right of each religious institution to make up its own mind on marriage, calling on state and federal governments to respect and protect that religious liberty. They also called on state and federal governments to establish marriage equality without regard to gender, thereby providing equal protection under the law for every member of American society."
The 1.3-million-member United Church of Christ, with national offices in Cleveland, was formed by the 1957 union of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Its biennial General Synod speaks to, but not for, the almost 6,000 local UCC churches in the United States and Puerto Rico.