"Today, our Unitarian Universalist faith has long since taken the lead among all other denominations with respect to Gay rights. We have hundreds of openly Gay ordained clergy. We have solemnized thousands of Gay union services. It is right that we should once again take the lead with regard to extending the full rights and privileges of marriage to all our citizens."
—Rev. Forrest Church (from his sermon The Meanings of Marriage)
Unitarian Universalists (UUs) believe that the First Principle of our faith, respecting "the inherent worth and dignity of every person", applies equally to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. UU congregations and clergy have long recognized and celebrated same-sex marriages within our faith tradition. Since 1973, when we established the Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns (now Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Ministries) the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has made an institutional commitment to full equality for bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer-identified people.
The United States Supreme Court rulings on June 26, 2013, which found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and found that the California Prop 8 case had no standing, essentially overturning it, has had far-reaching effects on marriage equality. In each of these cases, the UUA joined amicus briefs. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the California Proposition 8 case, we joined the California Council of Churches/California Faith for Equality/Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry California amicus brief.
As a result of these rulings and the subsequent lawsuits in state after state throughout the United States, marriage equality now is a reality in well-over half of US states. For a map of the constantly changing status of marriage equality, see Marriage Equality USA.
In virtually all of these cases, Unitarian Universalists have led the way. In fact, UUA staff member, Hillary Goodridge was the named plaintiff in the 2004 Massachusetts marriage case (Goodridge vs the Dept of Public Health: Legal at Last), which paved the way for marriage equality in other states. Since then, we have filed court cases, joined amicus curiae briefs, written, petitioned, visited, and called legislators, made 1-on-1 visits with friends, family members, and strangers, staffed phone banks, held press conferences, conducted worship services, and everything else needed to make marriage equality a reality throughout the United States.
The movement for marriage equality is not over until all fifty states recognize marriage rights for all of its citizens. If your state has marriage equality, we encourage you to offer your help to other states still working on it.
If you’re new to Unitarian Universalism, we invite you to learn more about and our commitment to create a loving community where everyone is welcome. Read our Unitarian Universalist Perspectives on Affirming Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender equality and other issues at the intersection of religion and society, find a UU congregation near you, and visit UUWorld.org, our denominational periodical on the web.
- Unitarian Universalist LGBTQ History & Facts
- Unitarian Universalist LGBTQ History Timeline
- More on LGBTQ Welcome & Equality
- Standing on the Side of Love blog posts on freedom to marry efforts
- Lesbian Ministers Declare Victory in North Carolina
- Archived blog posts on freedom to marry campaign prior to 2010
- Courting Equality: A Documentary History of America's First Legal Same-Sex Marriages, by Patricia A Gozemba and Karen Kahn
- Gay Marriage, Real Life: Ten Stories of Love and Family, by Michelle Bates Deakin
- Congregational stories on LGBTQ inclusion, including freedom to marry efforts
- Media stories on freedom to marry efforts
- Interview with Zach Wahl’s on the future of marriage equality: Part One, Part Two
- Rev. Peter Morales, Supporting Marriage Equality, a reflection
- Zach Wahls, Address to the Democratic National Convention on the issue of Marriage Equality, 2012
- UU sermons on marriage and the freedom to marry
Our Recommended Resources/Partners
- UU Statewide Legislative Advocacy Networks and Ministries: State-based UU organizations focusing on advocacy and witness
- Freedom to Marry: The gay and non-gay partnership working to win the freedom to marry nationwide.
- National Black Justice Coalition: A civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
- Human Rights Campaign : The largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.
- National LGBTQ Taskforce: A lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender equality organization.
- Talk About Marriages and Families (Talking Points from National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation, PDF, 2 pages)
- Leadership Conference on Civil Rights: The nation's premier civil rights coalition, which has coordinated the national legislative campaign on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.
- Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays: A national support, education and advocacy organization for LGBTQ people and their families, friends, and allies.
- Lambda Legal: A great source of background information on LGBTQ issues in general, and the freedom to marry in particular.
For more information contact email@example.com.