Religious leaders in several Rhode Island communities are speaking out in support of gay marriage, hopeful their voices will spur a larger movement backing the same-sex unions. Members of the Rhode Island Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice said at a news conference Tuesday that religious doctrine should not be used to deny rights.
The organization, which has about 70 members from six Unitarian Universalist churches in the state, was joined by leaders of Methodist, Episcopal, and Reform Jewish congregations. The meeting was held the same day President Bush called for a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Religious leaders at the event said that denying same-sex couples marriage rights amounts to "shameful" discrimination. The Reverend Dr. William Trench, of the United Methodist Church in East Greenwich, said his support for gay marriage is based on his religious beliefs. Marriage, he said, "is a promise made before God and the community to love one another forever."