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Arizona Church Leaders Pray For Gay Marriage

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Arizona Church Leaders Pray For Gay Marriage

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

May 12, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Tucson, Arizona) Leaders from more than 20 churches in the Tucson area want people in the state to know that not all Christian ministers oppose same-sex marriage.

On Saturday they will hold a special service at the Midtown First Congregational United Church of Christ to pray for the defeat of an initiative that would amend the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage marriage.

Most of the pastors are members of a coalition called Arizona Together which opposes the proposed amendment.

"I think the other side is trying to say they have the answer for what it means to be a Christian — that if you don't fit into that box you are not welcome," the Rev. Briget Nicholson told The Arizona Daily Star.

"We wanted to speak to people who are not in that box and let them know they are welcome to worship with us."

The UCC is the only major denomination in the country that supports same-sex marriage.

A conservative group, the Center for Arizona Policy, has been using Catholic and evangelical churches to gather signatures to have the issue put before voters.

It needs the signatures of 183,917 registered voters by July 6 to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

The proposed amendment would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman and prohibit state and local governments from granting "marriage-like" legal status to unmarried people.

Last month Arizona's three Roman Catholic bishops announced their support for amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

‘‘We urge citizens of Arizona to consider carefully the assurance the amendment would give in our state to preserve the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman,'' Bishops Gerald Kicanas, Thomas Olmsted and Donald Pelotte said in a joint pastoral statement. (story)

The Center denies that its ballot measure is using religion to get it passed.

"We are not getting into a faith-based litmus test, but talking about public policy and what's good for the state of Arizona," spokesperson Nathan Sproul told the Daily Star.

"It is good for the state of Arizona for the constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman."

Arizona already has a law restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples that was upheld by the state Supreme Court but Sproul said the issue should be placed in the constitution to prevent a future court from revisiting it.

©365Gay.com 2006

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