Social-justice agency head says Supreme Court decision upholds both freedom of religious liberty and equal protection of all citizens under the law

GBCS Pos 1.001WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, chief executive of the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS), issued a statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to legalize same-gender marriage.

In her statement, Henry-Crowe emphasized that the decision upholds both freedom of religious liberty and equal protection of all citizens under the law.

Henry-Crowe also said GBCS “affirms and upholds in prayer the work of The United Methodist Church as it continues to discern its understanding of marriage.”

The statement follows:

The June 26 Supreme Court decision upholds both freedom of religious liberty and equal protection of all citizens under the law.

The United Methodist Church affirms the legacy of the United States’ democratic ideals requiring the state to respect and honor the conscience and moral decision-making of its citizens. Religious liberty is preserved when all citizens have access to the same rights and privileges granted under the U.S. Constitution.

The United Methodist Church teaches that all persons have inherent dignity and worth as given by God. We proclaim in our Social Principles:

Certain basic human rights and liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation. We see a clear issue of simple justice in protecting the rightful claims where people have shared material resources, pensions, guardian relationships, mutual powers of attorney, and other such lawful claims typically attendant to contractual relationships that involve shared contributions, responsibilities, and liabilities” (“Equal Rights Regardless of Sexual Orientation,” ¶162J Book of Discipline).

Civil society must ensure these equal protections for every person under the law.

The General Board of Church & Society affirms and upholds in prayer the work of The United Methodist Church as it continues to discern its understanding of marriage. As a denomination with members in many countries and cultures, we are thankful for all nations where religious liberty allows for the freedom for all persons to live out their faith together according to their conscience.

—The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe
General Secretary
General Board of Church & Society
The United Methodist Church

June 26, 2015

The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.

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