Dr. Brad R. Braxton
Senior Pastor, The Open Church, Baltimore, Maryland
Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
National Press Conference
National Press Club, Washington, DC
September 21, 2012
My support of marriage equality is an endorsement of justice and love. Marriage can be a moral good that strengthens individuals and communities. Denying access to the fullness of that moral good, on the basis of sexual orientation, is politically unjust and morally inappropriate. My faith commitments compel me to seek justice for all. Justice involves fair access for all people to the goods and services a society has to offer, including the moral goods.
As a Christian pastor and theologian, I realize there are many different religious views about same-sex marriage. These diverse views need to be discussed and debated in a respectful manner in religious communities and other public venues. Nevertheless, my enthusiastic support of this legislation is rooted in a sense of political justice.
This legislation ensures the political rights of a group. It does not demand that faith communities alter how they perceive marriage from a religious standpoint. Marriage equality and religious freedom are not in conflict. When states grant the civil right of marriage to gay and lesbian couples, religious communities still maintain their right to recognize whichever relationships they see fit as a religious community.
Furthermore, as an African American Christian pastor and theologian, I feel a moral obligation to advocate for marriage equality. In this country’s history, African Americanswere once denied the right to marry and form families. As a descendant of people who were denied these rights, why would I want to deny gay and lesbian people these rights?
Finally, marriage equality is a celebration of love. In light of the hatred and hostility in our world, we should celebrate, and protect, the political right of two consenting adults to unite in love to form a family. Surely, relationships rooted in love, irrespective of one’s sexual orientation, strengthen the body politic and enhance the common good.
If we genuinely want liberty and justice for all, then it is crucial for voters in Maryland to vote “yes” on question 6 on this year’s ballot. A “yes” vote affirms that the small word “all” is really big enough to include everyone.
The Open Church