(The Reverend Brad R. Braxton, Ph.D.)
The Riverside Church in the City of New York stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers throughout the United States who suffer from social and legal discrimination based upon their sexual identity. Our congregation is energized in its resolve to speak boldly on behalf of God’s love and justice for all couples who wish to live in covenant love with one another and share their lives. The recent California vote for Proposition 8 that passed with 52% of the ballots defines marriage as “only between one man and one woman.” The Riverside Church reaffirms its commitment as stated in The Riverside Church Statement in Support of Same-Gender Civil Marriage:
Recent circumstances leading to calls for a Constitutional amendment to define marriage to exist solely between a man and a woman, and ultimately ban any legal recognition of same-sex unions, compels The Riverside Church of New York City to raise its voice in unity with those who cherish the principles of freedom, equality, and fairness for all. In so doing, we stand firm in our call for a more just and humane society-one where basic civil rights, and the right to simply be, are never denied to any citizen of this land .
We now continue in this tradition of progressive activism by reaffirming our commitment to pursue an open and candid conversation to forge greater understanding of such issues as family values, sexual identity, and biblical interpretations of human relations. Further, in an attempt to embrace all committed-relationships, the Church will take the bold action of no longer distinguishing between same-sex unions and (heterosexual) marriages. All ceremonies among two committed, loving adults at The Riverside Church will be recognized as marriages.
We further commit our resolve to support efforts leading to the development of social policies and laws that enable same-gender loving couple’s access to the privileges, legal protections, and benefits of civil marriage.
My leadership at The Riverside Church will continue to advocate these same principles, and I am committed to speaking out on issues of justice and equality with respect to my Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer sisters and brothers. Please accept this letter of support as another gesture of this commitment. I call upon all people of good will to work together to craft public policies and foster communal practices that will usher in the Beloved Community of which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke so often. In this Beloved Community, all God’s children can have their life-giving, loving covenants affirmed.
The Reverend Brad R. Braxton, Ph.D.
The Riverside Church in the City of New York