Religious People are Excited for Same-Sex Sunday Weddings, Too

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With self proclaimed religious values groups like the National Organization for Marriage and Westboro Baptist Church protesting this Sunday, as well as Focus on the Family going before the Senate to hail the Defense of Marriage Act yesterday, it may seem like religious people are universally against same-sex marriage right now.

However, this is simply not true.

It's worth remembering that even before the Marriage Equality Act became law, numerous religious demographics, including New York State Catholics and Jews, supported same-sex marriage with clear majorities. A great number of religious organizations were part of the coalition that fought for marriage equality.

But now that same-sex weddings will be legal in New York State in just 3 days, several religious voices are making their excitement especially known.

Rev. Alison Caiola, an interfaith minister of Rainbow Wedding Clergy, will be hosting the New York Marrython on Sunday, July 31. (Yes, that's a full week after marriage becomes legal, but the city can only process so many applications in the first few days.) Rev. Alison and her co-officiants have reserved the gazebo near Belvedere Castle in Central park from 10 AM - 7 PM on that day, and will be providing "intimate, individual ceremonies," as she and her two colleagues marry couples one at a time. Already about 20 couples have signed up. Rev. Alison was especially excited because both of her minister parents had been marrying same-sex couples in religious ceremonies since the Stonewall era.

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) is hosting a legal panel tonight on what New York gay marriage means on the state, federal and international levels. They will also be outside the marriage bureau on Sunday with their signature "Rainbow Chuppah" in support. Ruthie Berman and Connie Kurtz, stars of the film Ruthie & Connie: Every Room in the House, whose landmark lawsuit won domestic partner benefits for LGBT New York City employees, will be getting legally wed on Tuesday at CBST.

Riverside Church, long a staunch supporter of same-sex civil marriage, sent us a press release from their wedding planner yesterday almost salivating to get same-sex couples into their sanctuary.

And one Bishop of the Episcopal Church, which is split in its attitude towards same-sex marriage as a denomination, has taken a very strong stance in his dominion. Bishop Lawrence Provenzano of Long Island has ordered homosexual priests living with partners to get married within nine-months, or else. Elsewhere, Episcopalian Bishops are divided. According to the Times, "gay and lesbian Episcopalians will be allowed on Sunday to get married by priests in Brooklyn and Queens, but not in the Bronx or Manhattan or on Staten Island; in Syracuse but not in Albany."

Of course, these are just a sampling of the religious groups and individuals both for and against same-sex marriage. But we thought it important to point out that, while some religious people will come out this weekend to protest marriage equality, most likely far more will joyfully participate in the day's festivities.

sthrasher@villagevoice.com | @steven_thrasher

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Westboro Baptist Church Coming to New York Sunday to Protest Same-Sex Marriage
National Organization for Marriage to Protest Same-Sex Weddings Statewide this Sunday




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