The President's Freedom to Marry Fund
"Unitarian Universalism calls us to fight for the civil and religious rights of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people, and this new fund allows us to fully participate in the public debate in favor of civil marriage as a civil right."
—The Rev. William G. Sinkford, former President of Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) of Congregations is proud to support nationwide public witness and social justice work in support of same-sex marriage through the President’s Freedom to Marry Fund. Since its inception in 2004, the Fund has supported 37 grants to Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations and groups across the country for work in lobbying, advertising and educating about marriage equality.
Over the past five years, we have celebrated victories in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. However, our work has only just begun. Now is the time for us to stand strong on the side of love and advocate for full legal rights for committed same-sex couples.
Same-sex marriage has allowed us to bring our UU values to the general public in a way not seen since the civil rights struggles in the sixties. We want to ensure that there is a liberal religious voice in favor of civil marriage wherever and whenever the debate rages.
In early 2004, during the heat of debate about the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages, the first Freedom to Marry grant funded an advertisement in the Boston Globe. There was significant concern at the time over whether there would be public support for equal marriage, and conservative religious voices were loudly publicizing their opposition. It was important to have a religious voice standing strong on the side of marriage equality. Realizing our unique opportunity to make an impact, the UUA organized a clergy sign-on advertisement—and 160 ministers from across Massachusetts gave their names to the ad. Both GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) and the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry awarded the UUA top honors for its leadership, and on May 17, 2004, we were able to celebrate Massachusetts becoming the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
Since that initial investment in voicing our UU values to the general public, congregations across the country have received Freedom to Marry Fund grants to share their support of same-sex marriage in ways that resonate in their individual communities including:
- Six congregations in Georgia wrapped their buildings in rainbow-striped ribbon.
- A congregation in Rhode Island joined with an interfaith group to place advertisements on city buses.
- UUs in Missouri marched in the St. Louis gay pride parade.
- UUs in Indiana conducted training sessions about why we should support equal marriage rights.
- UUs in California fought a valiant fight against Proposition 8.
- UUs in Minnesota (MN UU State Advocacy Network) organized in opposition to an amendment to the Minnesota constitution.
Many more UUs made a difference in their communities using grants from the Freedom to Marry Fund. However, many communities still need the support from these important grants. Learn more about the grant guidelines if you are interested in raising awareness regarding the Freedom to Marry movement in your community.
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