Catholic Bishops are fond of arguing that “religious freedom” should require that they be granted exemptions from complying with laws on inclusion and equality with which they (but not most lay Catholics) disagree. However, some bishops conveniently ignore this principle when dealing with their own members who apply it to the right to dissent from Vatican doctrine on sexual ethics – or to the formulation of legislation in the first place. The Catholic and Mormon churches made vigorous efforts in support of Proposition 8 to deny marriage equality. However, this is not a simple issue of civil rights in a tussle with religious principle. People of faith disagree among themselves, and so some religious leaders argue that “as a matter of faith“, Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that struck down Proposition 8 must stand.
A dozen Christian and Jewish clergy offered support Wednesday for a U.S. District Court ruling in August that found California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The case is now before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
At a Los Angeles news conference, the group said it planned to file an amicus brief in support of Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to strike down Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that banned gay marriage. The judge said the measure violated due process and equal protection for gays and lesbians.
Representatives from the Los Angeles Episcopal diocese, the United Church of Christ, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and other liberal religious groups spoke of marriage equality as part of religious freedom Wednesday in the gathering at the St. Paul Cathedral Center, the Episcopal diocese headquarters.
“It is not an issue of legal matters, it’s an issue of faith,” said the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, the Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles.
The Rev. Fernando Santillana, pastor of Norwalk United Methodist Church, called it a Christian responsibility to speak up for equality.
“We are all divine creations. Some are heterosexual and some are not. But we are all God’s creatures,” Santillana said. “We have to be the voice that speaks for God in a society that is divided.”