Over 20 religious groups call on Senate to codify same-sex marriage
Over a dozen religious rights groups urged the Senate on Monday to codify federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriage, calling the freedom to marry who one loves "a matter of human dignity."
Why it matters: The letter, addressed to Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), comes after senators announced a bipartisan amendment to strengthen religious liberty protections in the Respect for Marriage Act.
What they're saying: "Within our communities, we approach matters of marriage, family, and identity differently. This bill recognizes this diversity of belief while ensuring that same-sex and interracial couples are treated with equal respect by federal and state governments," the letter states.
- "As faith-based organizations, we recognize that the First Amendment right to religious freedom is a cornerstone of our democracy."
- The amendment "protects the right to believe as we choose while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to respect marriages," the letter notes. "The freedom to marry who one loves is a matter of human dignity and supported by a majority of almost every major religious tradition in the United States."
- "We urge the Senate to adopt the bipartisan amendment in full, without further amendment needed to protect religious freedom."
- Signees include the Interfaith Alliance, Anti-Defamation League, Hindu American Foundation and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Worth noting: The bill cleared a major procedural hurdle in the Senate earlier this month after garnering enough support from Senate Republicans.
The big picture: Majorities of most major religious groups back same-sex marriage, according to a March poll by the Public Religion Research Institute. That includes 83% of Jewish Americans, over 70% of Catholics and Protestants, and more than 50% of Muslims.
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has also notably expressed support for the bill.