“We believe that clergypersons should not have to choose between offering pastoral care and religious services to their parishioners and breaking the law – which is what North Carolina is asking our clergy to choose between.” – Rev. Dr. J. Bennett Guess
On April 26, 2014, the United Church of Christ made history by becoming the first religious denomination to file a lawsuit against a state to defend the right of its clergy and members to free exercise of religion. The suit charges that by prohibiting wedding ceremonies (as well as any other kind of blessing of relationships) for couples that do not hold a marriage license – and by denying licenses to same-gender couples – North Carolina is blatantly trampling the rights of a religious denomination to practice its beliefs.
In a fascinating conversation, UCC Executive Minister of Local Church Ministries explains the rationale behind this groundbreaking lawsuit, who else is standing with the UCC, and the importance of reclaiming the language of ethical and moral values from the religious right.