3 Ways Religion Has Played a Role in LGBTQ Rights
When one considers the global reception of LGBTQ rights issues and looks at those in opposition of those rights, it’s an unfortunate truth that religion — especially Christianity — often comes to take on a particularly negative role. For some groups, this is a role readily taken up, and pridefully displayed, but it is worth taking note that there is a range of opinions from a range of different religious groups.
This matters for reasons beyond those of intolerance, as religious groups in American unquestionably have political and social influence; both voters and politicians ascribe to these beliefs and organizations, so the range of reactions that large or even small but influential bodies have on an important political issue is one worth examining. Let’s take a look at three varied religious responses within the political, legal, or international sphere.
1. North Carolina United Church of Christ Suit
With all the marriage bans being challenged around the United States at present, one challenge in particular is unique. Rather than being a federal lawsuit wrought by a couple or a group of same-sex couples, the lawsuit being made over North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage was taken up by clergy members. A group of clergy from the United Church of Christ are challenging the ban on the basis that “North Carolina’s marriage laws are a direct affront to freedom of religion,” according to Reverend J. Bennett Guess, the executive minister with the United Church of Christ.
“We feel that it is important that any person that come into community life of a United Church of Christ congregation be afforded equal care and equal opportunity to religious services that clergy provide,” he said, according to The Associated Press. While the United Church of Christ is admittedly one of the more liberal christian groups in the United States and has a history of being considerably more sympathetic to LGBTQ rights issues, they are not the only ones signed onto the suit. A Baptist pastor, Lutheran priest, rabbi, and two Unitarian Universalist ministers are all involved in the case as well, alongside a number of same-sex couples.
Of course, the suit highlights the other side of religious opinion on the matter, with Tami Fitzgerald, the executive director of North Carolina Values Coalition, an anti-same-sex marriage group, denouncing the suit. “It’s both ironic and sad that an entire religious denomination and its clergy who purport holding to Christian teachings on marriage would look to the courts to justify their errant beliefs,” she said in a statement. “These individuals are simply revisionists that distort the teaching of Scripture to justify sexual revolution, not marital sanctity.”
“We didn’t bring this lawsuit to make others conform to our beliefs, but to vindicate the right of all faiths to freely exercise their religious practices,” said Donald Clark Jr., general counsel of the United Church of Christ, to The New York Times.