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New Mexico Faith Leaders Announce Support for Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

by American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico
Wednesday May 8, 2013
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Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico and Equality New Mexico (EQNM) released a statement of support for marriage for same-sex couples signed by 94 interfaith religious leaders in New Mexico. The statement is part of the ACLU of New Mexico and EQNM’s joint public education campaign Why Marriage Matters New Mexico (formerly All Families Matter New Mexico.) The signatories include both active and retired faith leaders from around the state, representing a variety of denominations and faith traditions.

"By standing in support of the freedom to marry for all committed couples in New Mexico, I believe that I am in no way taking a bold or unusual stance," said Robert Woodruff, a Presbyterian minister from Albuquerque. "I am simply standing in the light of my faith perspective of inclusion, and the fundamental call to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Though I do not speak for all of the faithful in the denomination or congregation I serve, I do speak with a great multitude. I speak in one voice with the nearly one-hundred other religious leaders in New Mexico, from varying faith traditions and denominations, who have joined together to affirm the moral and faith tenets of respecting and honoring all marriages formed by loving, committed couples."

The text of the statement of support reads:

"We, the undersigned clergy and religious leaders from across New Mexico, draw upon our moral convictions and our personal faith to support the freedom to marry in our state.

We are leaders of various faith communities, who have lived and ministered closely with thousands of families through all of life’s glory, tragedy, and tedium. Some of these families are headed by same-sex couples. They, like many of us, enjoy the holidays with aunts and cousins, struggle to meet the mortgage, and fret over children who aren’t doing well in school.

These families are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and our peers. As people of faith and as New Mexicans, we believe in loving our neighbors, and treating one another as we would like to be treated-with dignity and respect. This means recognizing the love and commitment of lesbian and gay couples through marriage.

Entering into a committed, loving relationship is one of life’s most sacred and holy gifts. Marriage means responsibility and hard work, but it also brings life-changing protections for a family. Those of us who are married often take for granted the fact that we will not be questioned when we go to the hospital to visit our spouse; that no one can step between a mother and her children; that if death comes suddenly and we are unprepared, our spouse or children will not be denied inheritance in those mournful hours. Most heterosexual couples wouldn’t want to be denied these joys and protections that come with marriage, and when they think about it, they wouldn’t want to deny that to anyone else, either.

We recognize that there are a diversity of views in the faith community, and respect the right of religious groups to refuse to officiate or bless marriages for lesbian or gay couples. Indeed, not everyone in our congregations or denominations agrees with this viewpoint. By the same token, we support civil marriage fairness as an issue of religious freedom, for a denial of civil recognition dishonors the religious convictions of those communities and clergy who do officiate, and bless, marriages for same-sex couples.

Our religious principles are grounded in a love and acceptance of all people, and we believe deeply that means embracing marriage between same-sex couples.

New Mexico has a long history of valuing and protecting the humanity and dignity of every person. It is time to extend this tradition to families that include same-sex couples."

A full list of all the signatories may be read here. Selected faith leaders are available for interviews by the media.

If you are a faith leader in New Mexico and would like to add your name to the growing list of supporters, please contact Field Organizer Amanda Johnson at ajohnson@aclu-nm.orgor call (505) 266-5915 x1013.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2013-05-08 19:07:23

    I can care less if clergy or religion supports gay rights or any civil rights. Keep religon out of it.


  • JaimeB, 2013-05-08 21:20:18

    Because so much opposition to gay marriage has traditionally come from "religious" sources, any support coming from that quarter helps to weaken the opposition. It may not matter much to those who don’t care for religion (as they see it), but to turn what people have seen as a source if opposition into a source of support will be important in bringing even more people to the gay marriage cause. It will also further weaken support for churches that still cling to demanding second-class citizenship for women and queer folks. More support is what wins us the change we need. Even if many of us are intolerant of "religion," maybe we shouldn’t sneeze at any gains we make. Maybe we should even be glad that many people of faith care more about justice than empty tradition.


  • Anonymous, 2013-05-08 23:33:33

    Well articulated JamieB. I just can’t stand the fact that people can’t think for themselves. And human rights have to be put on hold until the brainwashers decide what they are preaching isn’t popular and change their story to keep collecting money from the masses.


  • DerekJA, 2013-05-09 07:23:16

    That was excellent, Jamie! I am one who hates religion more and more daily. But I have to agree with you, that it’s a positive and helpful step towards our right to marry when the most powerful group apposed (religion) makes positive changes. Like it or not, religion does have a strong influence on the masses... like anonymous said, brainwashers.. Let’s be glad that some of them are changing. That will have a very wide effect. After all, many (most? ?) people are followers, not leaders. :) I shoukd add that where I live now, we’ve had legal same-sex marriage for over 10 years now. All the negative naysayers, who kept droning on how this would lead to the destruction if the fabric of society, are now nuce and quiet. Tge actual results have been a strengthening of society which they can no longer deny. They’ve also learned that no Gay man destroys fabric! >;)


  • Wayne M., 2013-05-10 21:05:27

    Good comment Jaime. The truth is that there are more than just a few religious groups, particularly Christians, who support marriage equality and are willing either to perform or bless same-sex marriages. Just as denying marriage equality is an infringement against the equality and human rights of LGBT people, so it is also a denial of religious rights and freedoms to the churches and religious groups that support marriage equality.


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