The UCC's Executive Council is calling for the defeat of any federal or state legislation or proposed constitutional amendment that would deny civil legal protections to same-sex couples.
Meeting April 26-27 in Atlanta, the 76-member Council asked UCC congregations to be engaged in "serious, respectful, responsible discussions about É marriage, including diverse understandings of marriage."
The action came within days of similarly-worded resolutions being adopted by the boards of directors of the UCC's four national Covenanted Ministries—Justice and Witness Ministries, Local Church Ministries, Office of General Ministries and Wider Church Ministries—which met jointly April 22-25 in Atlanta.
In calling for the defeat of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 and the defeat or repeal of any similar state legislation, UCC leaders affirmed support for "equal rights for all couples who seek to have their relationships recognized by the State."
"We hold that, as a child of God, every person is endowed with worth and dignity that human judgment cannot set aside," the resolution states. "We believe that recognition of the sacred joining of individuals is deserving of serious, faithful discussion by people of faith... There is a need to end the rhetoric which fuels hostility, misunderstanding, fear and hatred expressed toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, and the denial of their equality under law."
Each of the statements cites the UCC's historic stance with disenfranchised persons, including persons of color and women.
The UCC's national setting, General Synod and regional and national bodies speak to, but not for, its local churches.
The full text of the statement can be read online at ucc.org/news/u042804.htm.