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Religious Leaders Voice Shared Commitment to Protect Marriage

 
December 6, 2010

WASHINGTON (December 6, 2010) — Leaders of some of the largest religious communities in the United States have come together to express their commitment toward the protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In an open letter released today, entitled “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment,” leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities in the United States affirmed the importance of preserving marriage’s unique meaning.

“The broad consensus reflected in this letter—across great religious divides—is clear: The law of marriage is not about imposing the religion of anyone, but about protecting the common good of everyone,” said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, newly elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and one of the letter’s signers. “People of any faith or no faith at all can recognize that when the law defines marriage as between one man and one woman, it legally binds a mother and a father to each other and their children, reinforcing the foundational cell of human society.”

The release of this letter comes the same morning that oral arguments on the Proposition 8 case are set to begin. In August, Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, based in part on the claim that defining marriage as between a man and a woman lacked any rational basis at all, and instead reflected nothing but religion-based hostility to homosexual persons. This ruling has been appealed and its hearing is scheduled for today, December 6.

“Today is the moment to stand for marriage and its unchangeable meaning. We hope this letter will encourage just that,” Archbishop Dolan said. “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared

Commitment” is being circulated nationwide.

Full text of the letter and signers follows:

The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment

Dear Friends,

Marriage is the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman. As such, marriage is the natural basis of the family. Marriage is an institution fundamental to the well-being of all of society, not just religious communities.

As religious leaders across different faith communities, we join together and affirm our shared commitment to promote and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We honor the unique love between husbands and wives; the indispensible place of fathers and mothers; and the corresponding rights and dignity of all children.

Marriage thus defined is a great good in itself, and it also serves the good of others and society in innumerable ways. The preservation of the unique meaning of marriage is not a special or limited interest but serves the good of all. Therefore, we invite and encourage all people, both within and beyond our faith communities, to stand with us in promoting and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Sincerely yours,

Leith Anderson
President
National Association of Evangelicals

Dr. Thomas E. Armiger
Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
Dr. Jerry G. Pence
The Board of General Superintendents
The Wesleyan Church

Dr. Gary M. Benedict
President
The Christian and Missionary Alliance

Glenn C. Burris Jr.
President
The Foursquare Church

Bishop H. David Burton
Presiding Bishop
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Dr. Ronald W. Carpenter, Sr.
Presiding Bishop
International Pentecostal Holiness Church Ministries

Nathan Diament
Director, Institute for Public Affairs
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Most Rev. Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan
Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh

Rev. Jim Eschenbrenner
Executive Pastor
Christian Union

Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Gammon
Conference Minister
Conservative Congregational Conference

Rev. Matthew C. Harrison
President
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

John Hopler
Director
Great Commission Churches

Dr. Clyde M. Hughes
Bishop
International Pentecostal Church of Christ

Ken Hunn
Executive Director
The Brethren Church

Bishop Harry Jackson
Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
Bishop, Fellowship of International Churches

The Most Blessed Jonah
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Orthodox Church in America

Dr. Richard Land
President
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Rev. Frederick J. Moury Jr.
National Conference Chair
Evangelical Congregational Church

Dr. James Murray
Interim Executive Director
General Association of General Baptists

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
President
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Manmohan Singh
Secretary General
World Sikh Council – America Region

The Rev. Paull E. Spring
Bishop
North American Lutheran Church

Dr. Joseph Tkach
President
Grace Communion International

Rev. Phil Whipple
Bishop
Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA

Dr. George O. Wood
General Superintendent
Assemblies of God

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Keywords: defense of marriage, union, one man, one woman, interreligious, ecumenical, interfaith, consensus, Latter-day Saints, Mormons, Lutheran, Sikh, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment,” Proposition 8, definition of marriage, open letter, dignity, children, good of society, Anglican, Baptist, Evangelical, Jewish, Orthodox




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