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Boston, Mass. (June 27, 2023) – The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Moore v Harper case that rejected the “independent state legislature” theory, which will have a significant impact on voting rights across the country.
“Democracy is so sacred an idea to Unitarian Universalists that we affirm it as part of our core religious Principles,” said the Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, the UUA’s outgoing president. “The Supreme Court’s decision will help to protect the rights of all voters, generally, and specifically those in historically marginalized communities.”
The case stems from North Carolina’s Congressional redistricting process and an effort by a number of organizations and individuals to legally challenge hyper-partisan gerrymandering in that state. The named respondent in the case, Becky Harper, is a Unitarian Universalist who is a member of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship of Raleigh, North Carolina.
According to Common Cause North Carolina, “At issue [regarding Moore vs. Harper] is a fringe ploy being pushed by extreme politicians, the so-called ‘independent state legislature theory,’ which has never been accepted by American courts.” In 2022, the North Carolina state Supreme Court rejected the state legislature’s gerrymandered Congressional districts and used special masters to draw a fair map. The North Carolina Legislature appealed this decision to the US Supreme Court.
While Moore v Harper is technically about redistricting in North Carolina, a ruling in favor of “Moore” could have impacted non-partisan redistricting commissions, ranked-choice voting or other reforms used in other states. The powers vested in Governors and Secretaries of State nationwide could have also been affected.
Unitarian Universalists (UUs) believe democracy must be accessible and equitable for all people and communities. Among their Principles, UUs affirm “the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” And in 2019, UUs supported a Statement of Conscience on uncorrupted democracy that asserted, “government by and for the people formally entails majority rule, with the majority’s power limited by protection of the rights of those in the minority.”
“Unitarian Universalists are passionate about so many social justice issues,” says Becky Harper. “It is clear that progress on the issues that UUs care about has been thwarted by the issue of gerrymandering because people are unable to elect representatives that reflect their values. The democratic system is broken when elected officials are choosing their voters, instead of voters choosing their elected representatives. The solution voters need is for Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act!”
Learn more about Becky Harper and Moore vs. Harper in UUWorld.
About the UUA
The UUA is the central organization for the Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious movement in the United States. Our faith is diverse and inclusive and the UUA’s 1000+ member congregations are committed to principles and values that hold closely the worth and dignity of each person as sacred, the need for justice and compassion, the right of conscience, and respect for the interdependent nature of all existence.