Forum For Equality gave Rev. Welton Gaddy a Acclaim Award in 2012 for his work in Monroe and with the Interfaith Alliance. Below are his remarks on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 on the steps of the Supreme Court.
I am Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance for almost 16 years and a Baptist pastor for over 50 years. My first prayer on this day was one of thanksgiving for a nation that continues efforts to bring to full completion the promises of our Constitution for all people regardless of sexual orientation, religion, race, economic status, or any other distinction.
Support for marriage equality is not about good or bad religion; rather whether we are good or bad Americans. Marriage is a civil issue in this nation, and as such should be available to all people in this nation. It is a matter of the Constitutional guarantee of civil rights for everybody.
I know some people oppose marriage equality because of their religion and their assumption that marriage equality cannot be spiritually valid. As a minister who for fifty years has performed wedding ceremonies shaped by Holy Scriptures, let me assure you that the gender of the persons at the altar does not destroy the spiritual significance of their marital commitments to each other.
To those who oppose same gender marriage, let me assure you that for our nation to do the right thing on this issue will not take away your right to hate or to condemn. It will, however, assure others that you cannot hijack the nation by using the law to impose on everybody your personal prejudices.
Interfaith Alliance advocates for marriage equality and has filed amicus briefs on these cases to say so to the High Court that we want religious freedom to prevail and all people – people of faith, people of no faith, all people of goodwill – to experience the blessings of religious freedom and the right to live with the one whom they love in marriage.
Finally, the time has come for every citizen to experience the right to marry whom they choose. No religion will be forced to bless that choice already affirmed by the law of this great nation.