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Marriage Equality

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

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 Gay Affairs (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 two-thirds 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. On April 28, 2015, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments and begin deliberation on these questions:

1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?  

The UUA’s long support for marriage equality is prominently featured in a “friend of the court” brief submitted to the Supreme Court.

As we await the historical ruling by the Supreme Court, expected in June 2015, we continue to stand on the side of love with LGBTQ individuals and families. LGBTQ Unitarian Universalists will fall in love, form families, hold commitment ceremonies in their congregations, and in states where it is legal, get married. Love has no boundaries and Unitarian Universalists will not rest until legal barriers are removed and protections are in place to assure LGBTQ people have the same rights to the pursuit of happiness as everyone else.  

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. Find a UU congregation near you. Look for congregations designated as Welcoming Congregations. These congregations are committed to building welcoming spiritual communities for LGBTQ people.

For more information about Unitarian Universalism and LGBTQ inclusion, visit: 

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