Indianapolis – The Interfaith Coalition on Nondiscrimination (ICON) today spoke out against Senate Joint Resolution 7 (SJR-7) in a letter to the Indiana General Assembly.
The letter, which is signed by 130 Indiana clergy, leaders of faith communities, and other religious professionals, opens with, “Our backgrounds and those of the people we serve vary widely. Our views on marriage differ. But we speak with one voice to oppose amending the Indiana Constitution to define marriage.”
Signatories on the letter to legislators all believe that the Marriage Discrimination Amendment would strip civil rights from committed unmarried couples and undermine the guarantee in the Indiana Bill of Rights for free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions by giving a legal preference to a specific set of religious beliefs. The text of the letter is attached.
“People are growing tired of religious and political leaders using religious teaching to justify discrimination,” said Executive Director Dan Funk. “ICON is identifying, uniting and giving voice to people of faith who believe that religious-based bigotry has no place in the Indiana Constitution.”
ICON, which is based in Indianapolis, is a growing coalition of people of faith in Indiana representing 26 different faith traditions. Members of this coalition believe that each of their faith traditions place great emphasis on the importance of justice. Members also teach that they must respect the inherent dignity of every human being, even those of differing opinions.
Over the past several years, ICON has built a relationship of trust with clergy and people of faith by advocating civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in a dignified, responsible manner. It is supported by Christian, Jewish, nondenominational, and other responsible religious voices throughout Indiana.
“The debate about SJR-7 is too important for us not to register our very strong concerns,” said Rev. Larry Kleiman, senior pastor of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Carmel, and a signatory on the letter. “To impose an opinion in the state constitution which denies constitutional rights to any minority group is an injustice. We simply refuse to stand by and let a very small group of Hoosiers create a very large second class citizenry here in our state.”
ICON is a membership organization concerned about the consequences of intolerance against sexual and gender minorities. It is particularly concerned about religious intolerance and lack of acceptance of God’s diversity. Its purpose is to create positive change through education and social action, so that gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersexed, and transgender people will be able to live in peace and equality.
ICON’s work is directed by 20 congregations and religious organizations, including: Affinity (Indianapolis); Bloomington Friends Meeting (Quaker); Broadway Untied Methodist Church (Indianapolis); Central Christian Church (Indianapolis); Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (Indianapolis); Congregation Beth-El Zedeck (Indianapolis); Eastside Peace & Justice Forum of Cumberland First Baptist Church (Indianapolis); First Congregational Church (Indianapolis); Holy Eucharist Orthodox Catholic Church (Indianapolis); Jesus Metropolitan Community Church (Indianapolis); Lutherans Concerned Central Indiana; North United Methodist Church (Indianapolis); Northeast United Church of Christ (Indianapolis); Plymouth Congregational Church (Fort Wayne); St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (Indianapolis); St. Peter’s United Church of Christ (Carmel); The Church Within (Indianapolis); Unitarian Universalist Church (Bloomington); Unitarian Universalist Church (Lafayette); and Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Fort Wayne).