EQUAL PARTNERS IN FAITH is a multi-racial national network of religious leaders and people of faith committed to equality and diversity. Our diverse faith traditions and shared religious values lead us to affirm and defend the equality of all people, regardless of religion, race, ability, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. As people of faith, we actively oppose the manipulation of religion to promote inequality and exclusion.

Senate Passage of Hate Crimes Bill Moves Bill Closer Than Ever To Becoming Law

Bill Signifies Major Victory toward Equality for GLBT Community

WASHINGTON— In an historic step toward equality for GLBT Americans, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Matthew Shepard Act, which updates and expands the federal hate crimes laws to include bias motivated violence based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability, and provides new resources and tools to assist local law enforcement in prosecuting vicious crimes....

The Senate in a bipartisan vote of 60 to 39 accepted cloture which ended debate on the bill and then moved to approve the Matthew Shepard Act by a voice vote -- attaching it as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Defense Authorization bill....

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Missed Opportunity at Presidential Candidate Debate Questioning Candidates About Their Favorite Bible Verse

Candidates Are Running For Commander-in-Chief, Not Pastor-in-Chief
Statement of Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy
President, The Interfaith Alliance

WASHINGTON, DC – Americans of all faiths and backgrounds watched with great interest last night as Tim Russert began questioning the Democratic Presidential candidates on the issue of faith and values. However, our hopes were dashed when instead of raising the important questions about the appropriate (or inappropriate) role of religion and its influence on candidates, Russert instead asked the candidates to cite their favorite Bible verse.

The question for candidates running for President on both sides of the aisle is not whether or how Hillary Clinton as a Methodist, Mitt Romney as a Mormon, Rudy Giuliani as a Catholic or John McCain as a Baptist can cite chapter and verse to reach religious voters. The question instead should be about their commitment to defend our fundamental Constitutional guarantees of freedom of belief and governmental neutrality toward religion....

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Episcopal Bishops 'Clarify' Position on Gays in the Church

After nearly a full day of deliberations, the House of Bishops on September 25 agreed overwhelmingly by voice vote to reiterate the 2006 General Convention Resolution B033 that said they would "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."

They also pledged not to authorize public rites for same-gender blessings "until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action," according to the response....

Intended to clarify General Convention Resolution B033, the document offered the strongest language thus far about interventions from overseas bishops in local dioceses. "We deplore incursions into our jurisdictions by uninvited bishops and call for them to end," the document said. It also called for "unequivocal and active commitment to the civil rights, safety, and dignity of gay and lesbian persons."

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Loving - Then and Now (40 Years Later)

Loving v. Virginia (1967), was a landmark civil rights case in which the US Supreme Court declared Virginia's law against interracial marriage unconstitutional. The Virginia statute was known as "The Racial Integrity Act." Today, "Defense of Marriage" laws attempt to deny the same right to same-sex couples.

Hear Julian Bond and Pamela Horowitz and other interracial couples talk about the significance of this historic Supreme Court decision, and listen as they and other couples discuss the imperative to affirm and legally ensure the right of all couples to marry.

PLEASE CLICK HERE to watch a video on You Tube that I was blessed to help produce. And, please, even 40 years after Loving v. Virginia, continue to fight for marriage equality!

Dr. Sylvia Rhue
Director of Religious Affairs and Constituency Development
National Black Justice Coalition
Member, Equal Partners in Faith Leadership Team

Breaking the Silence on Sexuality in our Churches

At a time when rifts over sexuality issues are widening, the National Black Religious Summit on Sexuality is bringing together African American, Latino, and Gay and Lesbian Christian leaders to build inclusive congregations. I invite all RCRC supporters to attend this Summit--a spiritual, emotional and intellectual experience that increases understanding, acceptance, and love of all God's children.

The 11th annual National Summit will meet July 11-13 at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, DC. More than 500 adults, many of them pastors and religious educators, and 200 youth are expected to attend the event, the largest gathering of African American and Latino church leaders and members to address sexuality issues from a religious and spiritual perspective.

PLEASE CLICK HERE to download registration forms.

Reverend Carlton W. Veazey
President and CEO
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Member, Equal Partners in Faith Advisory Team

RCRC Releases Guidelines for Ethical Health Care

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) released new ethical guidelines on providing healthcare in America. The guidelines, entitled In Good Conscience: Guidelines for the Ethical Provision of Health Care in a Pluralistic Society, seek to strike a balance between the beliefs and rights of providers and the beliefs and rights of patients. Alarmed by the increasing imposition of sectarian religious beliefs on health care access-especially access to reproductive health and humane end-of-life care-for millions of Americans, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, representing mainstream denominations and faith traditions, is calling for all health care providers to implement the new guidelines. . . .

The new guidelines provide an alternative to sectarian restrictions imposed on health care, such as the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, among others. As an increasing number of health care institutions fall under the control of religious organizations that restrict services based on their own religious beliefs, guidance is needed for providers and patients. For example, all Catholic hospitals, where 1 in 5 Americans receive their care, refuse to provide a range of reproductive and end-of-life service. The implications for patients are enormous: they are denied treatment or medication even when it is legal and they can pay for it. There are also implications for the doctors and nurses at such hospitals.

Individual doctors, pharmacists, and nurses are also exercising a "religious or moral objection," refusing to provide essential services and often leaving patients without other options. . . .

To read the rest of this press release, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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