BERKELEY, California - Pacific School of Religion and its Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry are applauding the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, announced this afternoon, that California's ban on same-sex marriage violates the United States Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.
The decision, along with Judge Joseph L. Tauro's July 8, 2010 ruling in Massachusetts that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, forms a legal foundation for overturning all discriminatory laws against same-sex couples seeking marriage in states and municipalities throughout the country.
The leadership of PSR, the executive director of the seminary's Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), and clergy from diverse faith traditions celebrated this ruling and reissued a call for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples in California and across the country.
The Rev. Dr. Hubert G. Locke, acting president, Pacific School of Religion, said, "At Pacific School of Religion we are deeply invested in the effort to achieve equality in all aspects of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and we applaud the federal court's decision to overturn Proposition 8. Those who believe in justice and equality as foundational principles of American life cannot help but view this decision with extreme gratitude."
Pastor of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco, the Rev. Dr. Karen P. Oliveto, said, "Today, love prevailed over hate and justice prevailed over fear, as this country moved closer to living out its core values of liberty and justice for all. We celebrate this important decision with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families, knowing that where love is, God is there also."
Although the decisions by Judge Walker and Judge Tauro concern the contractual civil marriage framework as regulated by the state, many faith traditions in America also provide religious blessings for same-sex couples, including Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ, the Metropolitan Community Churches, some congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), some Episcopal churches, and some Baptist churches.
The United Methodist Church, however, to date has maintained its traditional stance that homosexual practice "is incompatible with Christian teaching."
A multidenominational Christian seminary in Berkeley, California, Pacific School of Religion has been preparing bold leaders for historic and emerging faith communities since 1866. PSR's graduates are known for innovative ministries of compassion and justice around the world – in urban and rural parishes, on city streets and college campuses, in the arts, public policy, and many other fields. PSR is a member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), an interfaith consortium of seminaries and institutes in the Bay Area. For more information, visit www.psr.edu.
Founded in 2000, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion is the first seminary-based center for the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. The Center works to transform faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion and sexuality through education, research, community-building, and advocacy. Visit the Center's website at www.clgs.org or call 510.849.8206 for more information.