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Marriage Equality

"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.

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For more information contact lgbtq@uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.

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The song "Standing on the Side of Love," sung by Jeannie Gagne. Music by Rev. Jason Shelton and Yelton Music. Image show by WelcomingWebsites.com.

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From Standing on the Side of Love: Marriage Equality

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Julie and Hillary Goodridge. The Goodridges were the lead plaintiffs in the landmark case Goodridge v. the Massachusetts Dept. of Health which gained same sex couples the freedom to legally marry in Massachusetts in 2004.  The couple was married at the UUA Headquarters at 25 Beacon in Boston.
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People gather at a rally for marriage equality with signs like, 'Equal Love, Equal Rights,' and 'Strong Families Make Strong Communities.' Photo courtesy Sue Ellen Tuttle.


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Faith leaders from many traditions gathered at the HRC Clergy Call 2009.

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