Nearly 3,000 people from Christian churches across Connecticut gathered Sunday in organized protest against legislation that would give marriage rights to same-sex couples. The Connecticut Coalition of Churches, which sponsored the event, described the gathering as a "chance for Christians to unite in support of relevant social issues and the enduring message of the love of God," in addition to opposing same-sex marriages. Coalition members plan to rally at the state capitol on February 8.
The issue of same-sex marriage and civil unions died in last year's legislature. Proponents said they did not have enough time to gather support for a compromise bill that would grant more legal rights to gay couples. This year's legislative session begins February 4. Sunday's event, called "One Vision, One Voice," was held at the First Cathedral in Bloomfield, which bills itself as the largest Protestant church in New England. "Today's unique challenges require good people of faith who are united in their efforts," said Bishop LeRoy Bailey Jr., senior pastor of First Cathedral. "Together we will proclaim our one clear vision with one thundering voice."
Bishop Jay Martinez, president of the church coalition, said members of his group are opposed to giving marriage rights to same-sex couples. "It's male and female. We believe anything outside of that is outside of God's order," said Martinez, senior pastor of Kingdom Life Christian Church in Milford. He said he was not opposed to civil unions. He said marriage is the issue. "Everything gay people are really looking for can be accomplished short of marriage," Martinez said.
Frank O'Gorman is a member of the Hartford chapter of Dignity USA, a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Catholics and their supporters, and People of Faith for Gay Civil Rights. He disagreed with Martinez and others at Sunday's gathering. "Marriage is a fundamental institution that recognizes the relationship between two people based on love, partnering, trust, and it's really important for our dignity to recognize our relationships as marriages because that is what they are," O'Gorman said.
West Hartford-based People of Faith for Gay Rights plans to hold a rally in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples at the capitol on February 14.