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BPFNA Partner Congregation Vows to Work for Marriage Equality


March 8, 2012 | bpfna

SEATTLE, March 7, 2012 - On Sunday, March 4, the congregation of University Baptist Church unanimously approved a resolution of affirmation and celebration of the recently approved Marriage Equality Bill in the State of Washington.

Following a long history of social activism, the congregation of University Baptist Church expressed its joy in the passing of the Marriage Equality Bill by the Washington Legislature and Governor Chris Gregoire. With the approval of the resolution, the church also affirmed its intention to actively work with other sister congregations and LGBTQ advocacy groups to ensure that marriage equality is preserved in the State.

“We are a church committed to the message of radical hospitality and love that Jesus taught. Supporting and working for marriage equality is just part of our understanding of the gospel” said the Rev. J. Manny Santiago, pastor of the congregation. “Our church does not want to stay silent as other religious communities voice their opposition to marriage equality. We need to let people know that there are thousands of religious people – of all faith traditions – that support equality.”

University Baptist Church became a welcoming and affirming congregation in 1990. The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists  is made up of organizations and individuals who have joined together to advocate for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons within Baptist communities. Rev. Santiago pointed out that, “although our church is known for welcoming and celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals, this recent resolution was not taken lightly. We prayed, studied and had a series of conversations on how to best respond to the recent marriage equality legislation.”

Before approving the recent resolution the church looked at the possibility of refusing to sign marriage certificates until it was certain that all couples could marry in the State of Washington. “We wanted to be proactive and not just reactionary,” said Rev. Santiago. “In light of anti-marriage and anti-family organization’s efforts to put this issue before the voters this year, we needed to take a stand and to actively work to maintain the marriage equality law.”

With the approval of this resolution on marriage equality the church commits itself to work with others in keeping the recent Marriage Equality Bill, signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire, as the law in the State of Washington. Rev. Santiago said that besides encouraging members and friends to engage in personal conversations about the importance of the marriage equality bill, the church will also open its doors to other organizations looking for ways to educate and engage the community on this important conversation.

The text of the resolution approved by the congregation reads:

“As a Welcoming and Affirming congregation, the University Baptist Church (UBC) congregation rejoices with the passage of the Marriage Equality Bill by the Washington State Legislature and the signing into law by Governor Chris Gregoire. We celebrate that marriage will now by recognized for same-sex couples, and a history of marriage discrimination will end.

The UBC congregation has traveled a prayerful, studied path to become a congregation that sees God’s love in human love, regardless of the sexual orientation that embodies that love. And now we authorize our Pastor and Moderator to publicly communicate our support of marriage quality for all couples and to invite our sister congregations to do the same. The congregation also authorizes the Pastor and Moderator to explore partnerships with other organizations working to preserve marriage equality in Washington State and encourages members of the congregation to participate in the support of the marriage equality law.”

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