Voice for Equality: Rev. James Forbes

The Reverend James Forbes is the Senior Minister Emeritus of the Riverside Church, an interdenominational (American Baptist and United Church of Christ) church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City. He was the first African American minister to lead this multicultural congregation, and served it for 18 years.

Rev. Forbes is a proud signer of Freedom to Marry's Marriage Resolution.

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Voice for Equality: Rev. Geoffrey Black

The Rev. Geoffrey Black is the general minister and president of the United Church of Christ (UCC). Prior to his current appointment which began in October 2009, Rev. Black led the UCC's New York Conference for nearly a decade. Black was previously a program staff member in the UCC's Office for Church Life and Leadership. During his career he has served as assistant chaplain at Brown University, associate minister at St. Albans (N.Y.) Congregational UCC, pastor of Congregational UCC of South Hempstead (N.Y.), lecturer in the Field Education Department of Union Theological Seminary in New York and protestant chaplain at Adelphi University. Black is also currently a member of the board of trustees of Lancaster Theological Seminary. Ecumenical commitment, concern for equal justice, African-American empowerment and community improvement have shaped Black's ministry in the church and the communities in which he has lived. Learn more here.

On January 18, 2010, Rev. Black spoke before a crowd gathered at the Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu, Hawaii about the legalization of civil unions of gay couples soon to be considered in the Hawaii legislature:
We have come to understand that the rights of gay and lesbian couples are being violated as equal citizens. This is the civil rights issue of the moment. Sexual orientation is being used, just as color was used, as a reason to differentiate them from the rest of the population and treat them unequally. As a church person and church leader, I defend their [opposing religious groups] right to articulate their feelings and beliefs in the public square, but in the end, the government has the responsibility to treat all people equally. [Link]
Freedom to Marry salutes the Rev. Geoffrey Black as a Voice for Equality! Learn about other Voices for Equality here.

If Rev. Black's support inspires you, get involved!

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Voice for Equality: Fargo-Moorhead Unitarian Universalist Church

The mission of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fargo-Moorhead is:

To provide to its members, and to the community, an environment of religious tolerance, a loving fellowship of diversity, an open forum for the exchange of social, political, and moral ideas and values, and a religious home for spiritual growth without fear of reprisal. We are a Unitarian Universalist Welcoming Congregation that seeks to be a spiritual home for people of free faith regardless of race, color, gender, affectional or sexual orientation, age, national origin, socioeconomic status, physical or mental ability. [Link]

Mark Sinner, as President and on behalf of North Dakota's Fargo-Moorhead Unitarian Universalist Church, is a proud signer (the FIRST from North Dakota) of Freedom to Marry's Marriage Resolution which reads:
Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual choice,
RESOLVED, the State should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage.
Visit the Marriage Resolution page on our website and sign the Marriage Resolution today!

Freedom to Marry salutes the Fargo-Moorhead Unitarian Universalist church as a collective Voice for Equality! Learn about other Voices for Equality here.

If FMUU's support inspires you - get involved. Click to support the urgent marriage equality effort in New Jersey here!

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!

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Marriage Equality Struck Down in California—One Year Later

The Huffington Post
November 2, 2009
Freedom to Marry Voice for Equality, Rev. Eric Lee, President/CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, remembers the anniversary of the passage of Prop. 8 in California and says that the issue of marriage equality needs to be re-framed for those who voted for the proposition because of their religious beliefs. [Link]

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MLK’s Daughter to Head Southern Christian Leadership Conference

The Associated Press
October 30, 2009
Rev. Bernice King, the youngest child of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, on Friday became the first woman to head the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, co-founded by her father. Rev. Eric Lee, a Freedom to Marry Voice for Equality and the SCLC's Los Angeles chapter president, said in a statement Friday that he hopes King will follow her parents' example with respect to the rights of LGBT people. [Link]

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SCLC Leader from L.A. Speaks Out for Freedom to Marry in D.C.

The Washington Post
September 28, 2009
The Rev. Eric P. Lee, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (and a Freedom to Marry Voice for Equality), will be in Washington D.C. most of this week to try to build support for marriage equality within the African American community. [Link]

Inspired by Rev. Lee? Link to No on 1/Protect Maine Equality to preserve marriage equality in Maine.

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Voice for Equality: Rev. William Sinkford

The Rev. William G. Sinkford was elected the seventh president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations in 2001. Sinkford was elected to his second and final term as president in 2005. His installation as president made him the first African American to lead the organization. He was succeeded in 2009 by the Rev. Peter Morales.

On June 3, 2009, Rev. William G. Sinkford issued this statement in support of New Hampshire’s new marriage law:
I am overjoyed that New Hampshire has joined the growing number of states with inclusive marriage laws. This is another victory for civil rights in America. More and more fair-minded citizens believe that same-sex couples and their families deserve legal recognition and protection, and that conviction is cause for joy and celebration. [Link]
Freedom to Marry salutes Rev. William Sinkford as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Rev. Gene Robinson

V. Gene Robinson is the ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in the Unisted States of America. Robinson was elected bishop in 2003 and entered office in March 2004. Before becoming bishop, he served as assistant to the retiring New Hampshire bishop.

Robinson is widely known for being the first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination. His sexual orientation was privately acknowledged in the 1970s, when he studied in seminary, was ordained, married, and started a family. He went public with his sexual identity and divorced in the 1980s. When delegates to the Episcopal convention were voting on the ratification of his election, it became an issue of controversy. His election was ratified 62 to 45. His story has appeared in print and film, and in April 2009, Robinson made the Out Magazine Third Annual Power 50 list of the most influential gay men and women in the USA, landing at number 7.

On June 15, 2009, Rev. Gene Robinson spoke at the LGBT Community Center in New York City, saying:
Marriage equality is taking on an air of inevitability. Even the conservatives know it's going to happen; it's just a matter of when.
About his efforts to help get marriage equality legalized in New Hamshire, Rev. Robinson said:
I testified about separating the legal right from the religious rite. We have gotten so confused in this country where the civil act and the religious act begin and end, because we have deputized the clergy to act for the state. The New Hampshire law says that no religious unit will have to perform a ceremony it doesn't want to. I think it's a strategy that's going to work in a lot more places.
Freedom to Marry salutes Rev. Gene Robinson as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Rev. Thomas Mikelson

Rev. Thomas J.S. Mikelson is the Parish Minister of the First Church and First Parish of Cambridge-Unitarian Universalist in Cambridge, MA. Since 1989 Rev. Mikelson has been the parish minister as well as a visiting lecturer at Harvard Divinity School. Prior to coming to the First Parish, he was the Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City, Iowa from 1971 to 1983.

Rev. Mikelson is a student of Martin Luther King, Jr., and is the author of published articles and speeches about Dr. King. He has been interested for many years in the field of spiritual/alternative healing and is the author of articles on that topic. Learn more here [Link]

Regarding marriage equality, Rev. Mikelson has been a guest blogger on Freedom to Marry's website ("Talking to people of faith"), and has been quoted as saying:

I always have supported the right to marry for same sex persons because I think the absence of that right is truly detrimental to traditional marriage and family. Same sex love and commitment are out in this culture and they are not going back in.

Everywhere I look and mingle among friends, acquaintances, and colleagues, I hear from same-sex couples desires to have a home and a job, to pay taxes, raise children together, take meaningful roles in communities, enjoy mingling among their neighbors...take care of their elders, work in their welcoming churches, have dogs and cats, bake birthday cakes, take care of their lawns...the list goes on and on. The theme is clear, they want freedom to be part of the things that make for rich and stable shared life. They want what marriage, at its best, represents, a format for love, family, neighborliness, and participation in the larger community. Legal marriage for same sex couples will strengthen the social institution of marriage for everyone.

Freedom to Marry salutes Rev. Thomas Mikelson as a Voice for Equality

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Voice for Equality: Bishop John Selders

The Right Rev. John L. Selders, Jr., is an ordained minister serving the United Church of Christ (UCC) as the organizing pastor of Amistad UCC in Hartford, Connecticut. John was born and raised in an extended family of pastors and church leaders in St. Louis. Gifted in music, John became a widely recognized songwriter, musician and performer. John's academic and theological training was at Life Christian Bible College, Webster University and Eden Theological Seminary. Learn more [Link]

Rev. Selders is a member of the Human Rights Campaign Faith and Religion Program Council of Religious Leaders, a consultant for GLAD (MA), and a consultant for Love Makes A Family (CT). He believes speaking publicly for marriage equality is essential because of what he refers to as the "movable middle" now beginning to understand that "the truth of the matter is same-gender loving people are human beings and deserve the same rights and protections under the law."

Freedom to Marry salutes Right Rev. John L. Selders, Jr. as a Voice for Equality!
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