Bishops Speak in Support of SB 906Senyonjo & Robinson

By Ken Pierce

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, of Uganda along with New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson and Equality California Executive Director, Geoff Kors spoke in favor of Senate Bill 906 at a press conference called by Senator Mark Leno (D – SF) at the State Capitol on Tuesday, May 18.

Senate Bill 906, sponsored by Leno, reaffirms the freedom of the clergy to make faith-based decisions regarding which marriages they solemnize and further clarifies the distinction between civil marriage and religious marriage. It also clarifies that religious institutions would not lose their tax-exempt status in California if they refuse to officiate at a marriage that is contrary to their religious faith.

SB 906 was introduced January 27, 2010 and is named the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Act.Bishop Senyonjo

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda is a courageous vocal opponent to Uganda’s proposed legislation to criminalize and execute members of the LGBT community. The Ugandan government could soon outlaw his ministry with Integrity Uganda, and Bishop Senyonjo could be put in prison for his support of LGBT Ugandans.

While the Bishop praised the Religious Freedom and Marriage Act proposed in California, his real message is that religious zealots here in the United States are still fueling support for Uganda taking a harsh stand towards Ugandan LGBT citizens.

While their verbal support has been hushed due to the huge backlash of media attention, Bishop Senyonio said, “Money is still flowing into Uganda as well as other African nations in support of strong governmental actions targeting homosexuals.”

Bishop Robinson is the first openly gay priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. As a high-ranking member of the clergy, Bishop Robinson has advocated for equal protection under the law and for full civil marriage rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

At the conference, Robinson said that New Hampshire enacted a similar bill which helped pave the way for the legalization of same-sex-marriages in his state.Robinson

Kors said that EQCA is moving ahead with a strategy to win the support for marriage equality of California citizens in 2012. Their network of offices and volunteers, including here in Sacramento, has been making thousands of phone calls and knocking on doors across the state. EQCA is a co-sponsor of SB 906.

Currently SB 906 is on its third reading on the Senate Floor.

The bill is also sponsored by the California Council of Churches and receives official support from AIDS Project Los Angeles, Anti-Defamation League, Asian Americans for Civil Rights & Equality, California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, California Teachers Association, Consumer Attorneys of California, Jewish Political Action Committee (JPAC), Sacramento Lawyers for the Equality of Gays and Lesbians, Inland Counties Stonewall Democrats, and the City of West Hollywood.

Ken Pierce is a local Sacramento writer and Director of Public Relations for Equality Action Now.Press

 

 

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