Marriage equality is a civil right

By A Contributor

I see a sign as I go around Manhattan these days. Many of us see this sign in the faces of people who live here and around the world.

It says there can be love in all our hearts and in our actions. This is a fundamental human love tempered by justice, under-standing and acceptance. I think we see this sign without really looking for it.

Today there is also a rectangular sign on a huge billboard rising above the Sunflower Pet Supply on the south edge of town sponsored by my church, the Unitarian Universalist Fellow-ship of Manhattan. UUFM invites our community to celebrate love in all its forms and to support marriage equality. The photo on the billboard shows two men, recently married and in a partial embrace. The sign invites us to reflect on their happiness as a married couple, no different in their love for each other from that known to any other couple.

UUFM is happy that our sign comes after the Flint Hills Human Rights Project had a billboard there that also called on the community to respect one another independent of gender identity or sexuality. Prior to the billboard, our congregation voted on a statement of principle officially stating UUFM’s support for marriage equality. We decided to take a public stand on this issue.  We ask that you and the Manhattan public view this as a civil rights issue. I think the tide is turning on this and many other civil rights issues in Kansas and nationwide.

Our parent organization, the UUA, has publically held sup-port for gay rights and related causes for over 40 years. Well-known churches like the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church USA and the Reform and Reconstructionist movement of Judaism all support gay rights, along with many well-known sec-ular groups such as the AARP, ACLU, American Bar Associa-tion, NAACP, NOW and the American Medical Association.

UUFM believes that laws against marriage equality go against our fundamental civil and human rights. As UUs, we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and we strive to promote justice, equity and compassion in all human relations.

A popular hymn at UU churches rings out: “We are standing on the side of love, hands joined together as hearts beat as one. Emboldened by faith we dare to proclaim we are standing on the side of love.” Please look for that sign, whether the billboard on the edge of town or in the faces of those you meet every day, and celebrate love.

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