Soulforce Thanks the United Church of Christ – New Reason to Celebrate July 4 as Holiday

First church to offer full acceptance to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians. May mark beginning of the end for Federal Marriage Amendment.

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: July 5, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: The Rev. Dr. Mel White, Executive Director
Soulforce, PO Box 3195, Lynchburg, VA 24503 www.soulforce.org
Office: 434-384-7696 Cell: 434-221-4700 GaryNixon@aol.com
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(Lynchburg, VA) – The July 4, 2005, vote by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ to offer "equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender" is the first sign of hope in our long, painful struggle against religion-based discrimination.

Let the Falwells, Dobsons, and Robertsons rush to condemn this decision with their false and inflammatory threats that allowing gays to marry will destroy marriage and family.

Finally a denomination has the courage to stand against the fundamentalists and their attempt to take power over church and state alike through their anti-gay fear campaign.

Finally a denomination has the courage to join the Metropolitan Community Churches in recognizing officially that millions of lesbian and gay Americans in loving, committed relationships with families of their own deserve the rites and rights of marriage.

For the past half century the United Church of Christ has modeled what it means to be a fully inclusive denomination. The UCC led the way on that amazing day in June, 1972, when the first openly gay man, the Rev. Dr. William R. Johnson, was ordained into ministry. Now, on the 33rd anniversary of that historic event, with their vote to endorse full civil and religious rights for marriage equality with regard to lesbian and gay couples, the United Church of Christ leads the way again.

These are dark times for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians, Protestant and Catholic alike. After decades of study and discussion, most of our denominations have turned against us, refusing to recognize our loving relationships or our calls to ministry. But with this courageous and prophetic vote, the UCC General Synod has taken its stand against the rising tide of Christian fundamentalism and obeyed the command of Christ to "love one another as I have loved you." This vote makes glad the heart of God and gives hope to lesbians and gays everywhere.

Please take 60 seconds to call your local UCC pastor/church to express your appreciation for their stand. Then email a thank you note to: the Rev. John H. Thomas, UCC President: thomasj@ucc.org

The Rev. Dr. Mel White, Executive Director, Soulforce

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