Clergy on Both Sides of Proposition 8 Speak Out

October 26, 2008

Author: Duke Helfand

Source: The Los Angeles Times,0,1041765.story

With the Nov. 4 election fast approaching, rabbis, priests and ministers across California are ratcheting up their public appeals over Proposition 8 -- using their religious platforms to alternately highlight the perils of passing or rejecting the same-sex marriage amendment.

More than a dozen Lutheran ministers are to appear after services today at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in North Hollywood to urge a "No" vote on the measure, which would define marriage in the state Constitution as between only a man and a woman.

On Tuesday, Presbyterian ministers are to issue a similar verdict during simultaneous gatherings in Los Angeles and San Francisco, arguing that Proposition 8 would rob same-sex couples of their civil rights.

Those efforts come after more than 250 California rabbis urged voters Friday to reject the measure. The rabbis -- primarily from the Reform and Conservative movements and representing about 40% of the state's Jewish clergy -- said the proposition's definition of marriage would disenfranchise gays who crave the same freedoms as heterosexuals.

"Prop. 8 is unnecessary," Rabbi Denise Eger said during a news conference at Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood. "It's unfair. And it's wrong."

Clergy who support Proposition 8, meanwhile, are aggressively pressing their message at churches and rallies in Southern California.