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UCC Coalition Council Responds to President's State of the Union

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    January 30, 2004 For Immediate Release UCC COALITION COUNCIL RESPONDS TO PRESIDENT S STATE OF THE UNION NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT ­ In his January 20, 2004 State
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2004
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      January 30, 2004
      For Immediate Release
      UCC COALITION COUNCIL RESPONDS TO PRESIDENT'S STATE OF THE UNION

      NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT ­ In his January 20, 2004 State of the Union
      Address, President Bush reaffirmed his determination to exclude same-
      sex couples from the civil right to marry. The United Church of
      Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns
      (The Coalition) calls upon the President and all elected leaders to
      recognize this action as state-sanctioned discrimination and to work
      to include all committed couples 'heterosexual and same-sex alike'in
      the benefits, privileges and responsibilities of marriage.

      Marriage falls into two categories: civil and religious. Currently,
      these categories are being blurred and confused.

      As a civil right, marriage should be accessible to all committed
      couples in the United States of America. The Coalition is
      unequivocal: all the rights and responsibilities of marriage need to
      be accessible to any couple who is of legal age and willing to assent
      to them. Civil rights must pertain and apply to all persons, not just
      to an exclusive group.

      The Coalition applauds the decision in Massachusetts that makes
      marriage accessible to all heterosexual and same-sex couples. We urge
      all states to make similar decisions. We further urge that work be
      done on the federal level to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage
      Act of 1996 which legalizes discrimination by denying on a federal
      level the civil right of marriage to same-sex couples.

      As a religious rite, marriage takes place in the broader context of
      love, community and justice. In this theological context four things
      are evident:

      1. Any conversation about marriage needs to affirm that marriage's
      purpose and focus is always love, wholeness, justice and equality. We
      give thanks to God when marriage is a covenant which reflects
      God's covenant with us.

      2. However, any conversation about marriage needs also to take
      seriously the history of domestic violence, oppression of women and
      children and the misuse of the institution (including its historic
      racism).

      3. Any conversation about marriage needs to de-centralize marriage as
      the only expression of covenant and commitment between adults. God
      has given to us many forms of relationship: community, friendship,
      family bonds, etc. Scripture gives us examples of all of these as
      holy and blessed: the relationships between David and Jonathan and
      Ruth and Naomi, the notion of the "People of God" and that of
      the "Body of Christ," for example.

      4. Any conversation about marriage must take seriously the reality
      that many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (lgbt) and
      heterosexual people have made conscious choices to covenant with one
      another in ways other than civil or religious marriage. These
      covenants should also be honored and celebrated.

      As The Coalition Council, we urge all Coalition and United Church of
      Christ members, all faith communities and society to engage
      intentionally and thoughtfully in conversation about civil and
      religious marriage, so that love and justice may abound for all
      people.

      The Coalition is officially recognized by the United Church of Christ
      as a related, self-created organization. The Coalition provides
      support and sanctuary to all our lesbian, gay, bisexual and
      transgender sisters and brothers, their families and friends;
      advocates for their full inclusion in church and society; and brings
      Christ's affirming message of love and justice for all people.

      Contact: Rebecca Voelkel
      PMB 230
      800 Village Walk
      Guilford, CT 06437-2740
      800-653-0799 tel
      203-789-6356 fax
      NationalCoord@...
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