Manhattan church formally declares support for marriage equality in Kansas

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Manhattan PO Box 910, Manhattan KS 66505 Phone: (785) 537-2349 Web: http://uufm.net

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Local Congregation Acts to Support Marriage Equality in Kansas

MANHATTAN, Kansas (December 11, 2013) - The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Manhattan (UUFM) has adopted a Statement of Principle in support of Marriage Equality in Kansas:

We, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Manhattan, Kansas, in light of our religious and moral principles and commitment to human rights, hereby declare full support for Marriage Equality for couples of any gender identity or sexual orientation, and call for the State of Kansas to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Following Sunday services on December 8, the membership gathered to decide the measure. The statement was adopted unanimously.

Tom Phillips, the 2014 Chair of the UUFM Executive Board, said, “Our recently adopted vision statement says that members of UUFM strive to be ‘a bold model of love, compassion, social action and justice for ourselves, our society and our planet.’ Marriage Equality is coming around in the U.S. and in many places in the world, but same-sex unions are considered illegal in our home state of Kansas. We UUs stand on the side of justice in support of Marriage Equality for all.”

UUFM is an LGBT Welcoming Congregation, intentionally inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. However, this marks the first time the congregation has formally declared their support for legal same-sex marriage in Kansas.

“Unitarian Universalists across the land have been working valiantly for marriage equality,” said UUFM minister Michael Nelson. “We should engage in this faith based issue more seriously. Standing on the side of love calls us to be in open dialogue with the citizens of Kansas so that equality can become available to all. We are called to give heft and momentum to our principles by working to eradicate injustice in all its manifestations.”

Nelson and his partner of more than 30 years, Charles Dedmon, were married November 17, 2013 in California. However, their marriage isn’t recognized in their home state of Kansas.

Nelson explains that the congregation’s vote is part of a larger movement afoot in the region: He and Dedmon are rallying support for marriage equality through a start-up organization called All’s Fair Kansas. Currently in its infancy, All’s Fair Kansas will have a mission to educate the public, motivate them to act, and ultimately, change state law.

“Equality is consistent with Kansas values given our history as a Free State and our rejection of Separate but Equal in public education,” said Linda Kroeger, UUFM member and member of Flint Hill PFLAG. “Many Kansans from different congregations and faith traditions have family members or friends negatively affected by current Kansas law. We will work together through All’s Fair Kansas to promote equality. I try to imagine a Kansas in which all people are treated respectfully and equally under the law and I support the UU’s statement of principle.”

UUFM is a liberal religious community committed to open discussion, spiritual exploration, and social justice. Sunday morning services begin at 10:45 am at the Fellowship building, 481 Zeandale Road in Manhattan. For more information, contact Tom Phillips, tphillips@uufm.net

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