UCC Coalition Council Responds to President's State of the Union
- 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
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
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
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
800 Village Walk
Guilford, CT 06437-2740