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The Marriage Project

CENTER FOR LESBIAN AND GAY STUDIES IN RELIGION AND MINISTRY LAUNCHES WEB-BASED MARRIAGE PROJECT FOR RELIGIOUS LEADERS, COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS, AND NEWS MEDIA

Contact: Jay Johnson or Alvan Quamina, 800/999-0528
February 23, 2004 -- BERKELEY, CA - Responding to recent public debate on the right of same-sex couples to legally marry, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) at Pacific School of Religion (PSR) has created a new web-based Marriage Project, now available on its web site at www.clgs.org ( http://www.clgs.org ).

Designed for communities of faith, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) activists, and secular and religious news media, the Marriage Project offers materials on the history of marriage in Christian traditions, talking points for understanding the civil rights involved in marriage, liturgical and theological resources for engaging this issue in faith communities, and links to denominational and other organizational resources for sorting through the implications of the debate for our religious and civic institutions.

"The question of marriage involves a complex history of legal, cultural and religious issues and promises to be one of the more divisive 'wedge' issues in this year's presidential campaign," says PSR Professor Mary A. Tolbert, the Center's Executive Director.

"Reactionary religious organizations have obscured the important difference between civil rights and religious rites. Marriage equality for same-sex couples is a matter of civil rights, of enjoying the same benefits and responsibilities as any other married couple. CLGS is particularly suited to help both LGBT people and communities of faith learn about the important distinctions between these civil and religious issues and become articulate advocates for marriage equality."
The Marriage Project was launched on Valentine's Day - the culmination of Freedom to Marry Week - which also coincided with the historic decision by San Francisco's mayor to defy California state law by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Marriage Project features:
* Articles on the history and theology of marriage in various religious, historical, and cultural traditions
* FAQ sheet on marriage equality and religion
* Legal definitions of marriage in each US state
* Sermons and pastoral resources on same-sex marriage by ministers and churches around the US
* Teaching tools for those interested in teaching and learning more about same-sex marriages, unions, and civil unions
* Denominational and religious caucus statements on marriage, civil unions, and religious advocacy for social justice
* Statements of support for same-sex marriage issued by a variety of organizations, religious leaders, politicians, and others
* Personal stories about marriage and commitment which put a human face on this religious and political issue and remind us about what's at stake in the debate
* Press releases on issues related to the marriage debate
* Links to other marriage resources on the web
Staff of the CLGS Marriage Project are also available for media interviews on same-gender marriage and a variety of other topics related to sexuality and religion.
For more information about the new Marriage Project, visit www.clgs.org, or contact CLGS staff members Jay Johnson or Alvan Quamina at 510/849-8206 or 800/999-0528.
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The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion bears witness to the Christian belief in justice for all people by offering an important new voice in the debate on sexuality, sexual orientation, and religion. The Center works to advance the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people and to transform faith communities and the wider society by taking a leading role in shaping a new public discourse on religion and sexuality through education, research, community building, and advocacy. Visit the center's website at www.clgs.org, or call 510/849-8206. Our mailing address is CLGS, 1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709.