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Religious Leaders: “We’re Voting No Because of Our Faith, Not in Spite of it.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

Religious leaders from all faiths gather to speak out against the amendment in the name of love and religious freedom

Kate Brickman, Press Secretary
Phone Number: 612-460-1219

June 7, 2012 – Minneapolis, MN – As they descended the stairs, the group of religious leaders who met at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church sang together “We are marching in the light of God, we are marching in the light of God.”

More than 120 religious leaders came together Thursday morning at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church Thursday morning to form Clergy United for All Families. The leaders represent a broad range of traditions, including Lutherans, Baptists, United Methodists, Roman Catholics, Episcopalian, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Quakers, and more.

“We need to stand up for the freedoms that are guaranteed – for religious freedoms, for freedom for people to marry who they love and for people to commit who they want to commit to,” said Pastor Grant Stevensen, Faith Director for Minnesotans United for All Families. “We are here to stand up for love – everyone’s love.”

The group of clergy spent the morning discussing ways to work within their own congregations to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment that would exclude committed gay and lesbian couples from the freedom to marry in Minnesota, saying the amendment would limit the religious freedom they all hold sacred.

“I’m proud to stand here as a lesbian rabbi, something that I grew up thinking couldn’t exist together,” said Rabbi Melissa Simon of Temple Shir Tikvah. “But luckily I learned that God loves all of us and when two people want to come together in love, we need to celebrate that, not exclude people from that.”

“I will be voting no because of my faith, not in spite of my faith,” said Pastor Kelly Chatman of Redeemer Lutheran Church of Minneapolis. “We have many different religions in our country and in our state. We must ensure our religious freedom is preserved.”

“Our religious traditions are based upon love,” said the Rev. Bruce Robbins, with Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church. “Gay and lesbian couples want to get married for the same reason as straight couples – to make a lifelong commitment to one another of love and responsibility.”

“I know we’re all used to preaching, and we’ll certainly continue preaching about God’s love,” said Pastor Stevensen. “But what we’re really going to commit to do is listen. We need to create spaces in our congregations to have thoughtful and honest conversations about this amendment.”



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