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VT HOUSE S.115 As Enacted: Read the new law!

Religious Support for Equality

List of Supporters

Below are the Vermont clergy who have signed the Declaration of Religious Support for Same-gender Couples to Marry.

United Church of Christ
  • Pastor Mary Nelson Abbott
  • Rev. David Andrews
  • Rev. D. Jean Andrews
  • Rev. Shayna Appel
  • Pastor Katherine B. Arthaud
  • Rev. Richard L. Bingham
  • Rev. Dr. Lynn Bujnak
  • Rev. William M. Burhans
  • Rev. Catherine A. Cadieux
  • Rev. Dr. C. Michael Caldwell
  • Rev. Carole Carlson
  • Rev. Adrianne L. Carr
  • Rev. Neil J. Carr
  • Rev. Douglas F. Carter
  • Rev Dr. David C. Chevrier
  • Rev. Susan C. Church
  • Rev. Kathleen S. Clark
  • Rev. William Sloane Coffin (Deceased)
  • Rev. Richard B. Crocker
  • Rev. Sandra L. Daly
  • Rev. Roger C.B. Daly
  • Rev. David Dean
  • Rev. Nancy G. Devor
  • Rev. Christine F. Dyke
  • Rev. Kathy Wonson Eddy
  • Rev. Elizabeth H. Fisher
  • Rev. Mark Follansbee
  • Rev. Timothy R. Forester
  • Rev. Jennifer T. Geary
  • Rev. Kevin E. M. Goldenbogen
  • Rev. Bonnie L. Haase
  • Rev. Dr. MB Handspicker
  • Rev. Mary N. Hawkes
  • Rev. Patricia A. Harwick
  • Rev. Ray L. Harwick
  • The Rev. Jane G. Henderson
  • Rev. Michael L.C. Henderson (Deceased)
  • Rev. Susan A. Henderson
  • Rev. Mike D. Henkle
  • Rev. Ruth Anne Hill
  • Rev. Dale Hindmarsh
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Hirschfeld
  • Rev. Serge F. Hummon
  • Rev. Will Hunter
  • Rev. Debbie Ingram
  • Rev. Laura Lee Kent
  • Rev. Thomas C. Kinder
  • Rev. Rona S. Kinsley
  • Pastor Susan Cooke Kittredge
  • Rev. Matthew W. Laney
  • Rev. Janet Langdon
  • Rev. Robert A. Lee
  • Rev. Mary H. Lee-Clark
  • Rev. James D. Llewellyn
  • Rev. Marjorie A. MacNeill
  • Rev. Sami D. McRae
  • Rev. Mark A. Mendes
  • Rev. Lee A. Moore
  • Rev. Bill Nelson
  • Rev. William R. Neil
  • Rev. Joan Newton O’Gorman
  • Rev. Charles J. Parsley (Deceased)
  • Rev. Morris D. Pike
  • Rev. Mark R. Pitton
  • Rev. Peter Plagge
  • Rev. Dr. Barbara deB.Allen Purinton
  • Rev. David P. Ransom
  • Rev. Louise S. Ransom
  • Rev. Deborah Roy
  • Rev. Penny R. Smith
  • Rev. Dr. Lise M. Sparrow-Pepin
  • Rev. Thomas D. Steffen
  • Rev. Susan L. Tarolli
  • Rev. Dr. Arnold Thomas
  • Pastor James Thomas
  • Rev. Margaret W. Tooker
  • Rev. Elizabeth S. Towle
  • Rev. Joan Vincent
  • Rev. Bill Warriner
  • Rev. John C. Weatherhogg
  • Rev. Tracy Weatherhogg
  • Rev. Susan T. Webster-Toleno
  • Rev. Daniel S. Wright
  • Rev. David D. Wright
  • Rev. Margaret T. Wright

UCC Congregational Signers
  • First Congregational Church of Thetford

Episcopal
  • The Rev'd Keri Aubert
  • The Rev'd Stannard Baker
  • The Rev'd Gordon Bardos
  • The Rev'd Molly A. Bidwell
  • The Rev'd Janet K. Brown
  • The Rev'd Thomas Brown
  • The Rev'd Robert W. Castle
  • The Rev'd Thora L. Chadwick
  • The Rev'd Bradford D. Clark
  • The Rev'd Canon Margaret Crane
  • The Rev'd Lee A. Crawford
  • The Rev'd William A. Davidson
  • The Rev'd Timothy C. Eberhardt
  • The Rev'd Gary W. Eley
  • The Rev'd Terence P. Gleeson
  • The Rev'd Lyle G. Hall
  • The Rev'd J. Harrison L. Heidel
  • The Rev'd Ann E. Hockridge
  • The Rev'd Victor J. Horvath
  • The Rev'd Jean A. MacDonald
  • The Rev'd Dr. Linda M. Maloney
  • The Rev'd Wendy Manley
  • The Rev'd Donald R. Morris
  • The Rev'd John Morris
  • The Very Rev'd Diane Nancekivell
  • The Rev'd Sherry Osborn
  • The Very Rev'd Kenneth W. Poppe
  • The Rev'd Lisa Ransom
  • The Rev'd Diane E. Root
  • The Rev'd Anita Schell-Lambert
  • The Rev'd Craig F. Smith
  • The Rev'd Elizabeth Stedman
  • The Rev'd Virginia C. Thomas
  • The Rev'd C. Leland Udell
  • The Rev'd Nancy A.G. Vogele
  • The Rev'd Canon Tanya R. Wallace
  • The Rev'd Hal Woods
  • The Rev'd Oliver L. Yarbrough

Unitarian Universalists
  • Rev. Meredith U. Anderson
  • Rev. Erica P. Baron 
  • Rev. Elaine Bomford
  • Rev. Roddy O'Neil Cleary
  • Rev. Nancy Jay Crumbine
  • Rev. Elizabeth R. Curtiss
  • Rev. Jane Dwinell
  • Rev. Marta Flanagan
  • Rev. Richard A. Forcier
  • Rev. Stephanie Foy
  • Rev. Brendan Hadash
  • Rev. Barbro Hansson
  • Rev. Mary T. Higgins
  • Rev. Pat A. Hoertdoerfer
  • Rev. Daniel J. Jantos
  • Rev. Bruce J. Johnson
  • Rev. Gary Kowalski
  • Rev. Carole Martignacco
  • Rev. Johanna L. Nichols
  • Rev. Jeanne Nieuwejaar
  • Rev. Olav Nieuwejaar
  • Rev. Marjorie Rebmann
  • Rev. Eleanor Rice
  • Rev. William C. Saunders
  • Rev. Paul S. Sawyer
  • Rev. Dr. Robert E. Senghas
  • Rev. Dr. Patience G. Stoddard
  • Rev. Telos Whitfield
  • Rev. Steven M. Wilson

UU Congregational Signers
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Rutland

United Methodist
  • Rev. Anne L. Torrance Bachmann
  • Rev. Rebecca Clark
  • Rev. Mitchell Hay
  • Rev. Richard H. Hibbert
  • Rev. Robert E. Hollstrung
  • Rev. George Klohck
  • Rev. Barbara Lemmel
  • Rev. Ralph W. Mueckenheim
  • Rev. Jill Robinson

Presbyterian
  • Rev. Michael Brown
  • Rev. Edwin C. Granai
  • Rev. Susan E. Rambo
  • Rev. Rebecca S. Strader

Judaism
  • Rabbi Sheri K. Berger
  • Rabbi Joshua Boettinger
  • Rabbi Joshua Chasan
  • Rabbi David Steinberg

Unaffiliated
  • Rev. David W. Connor
  • Rev. M. Moretti
  • Rev. Jean-Ellen Marie O'Neil
  • Rev. Cliff Turpin
  • Rev. Elizabeth Upton

Independent/Old Catholic
  • American Catholic Church of New England

Quaker
  • Barton Glover Friends' Meeting
  • Bennington Religious Society of Friends
  • Burlington Friends Meeting
  • Putney Religious Society of Friends
American Baptist Churches, USA
  • Rev. Karen A. Mendes
  • Rev. Ryon Price

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Supporting the fair and equal treatment of all people is a social justice issue that is central to the practice of faith and there are many people of faith, clergy and lay leaders who support the freedom for same-gender couples to civilly marry. For more information on religious support for the freedom of same-gender couples to marry, read below.

Freedom of Religion and Civil Marriage — (Download PDF)

The right to freedom of religion, protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ensures that no clergy person can be forced to perform a marriage, or sign a marriage certificate, against his or her faith, and no faith community can be forced to celebrate a marriage in violation of its religion. As a consequence, many people are entitled to legally marry, but cannot insist that they be married in a particular church, or by a particular clergy person. For example, even though an individual who has divorced, or is marrying outside of his or her faith, has a legal right to marry, some communities of faith will not celebrate such marriages. That's their right.

CarolecarlsonSome people confuse the religious rite of marriage with the civil right to marry. The religious rite of marriage DOES NOT confer any legal rights or responsibilities. The religious rite of marriage is a ceremonial rite of passage within a faith tradition, and only couples who meet the requirements of a particular faith tradition can participate in religious marriage. A couple who wants to enter into a religious marriage can do so without entering into a civil marriage. A couple who has a religious marriage only (they have not signed a civil marriage license) do not receive any protections from the state.

A civil marriage is separate from a religious marriage. It is a legal status that confers over 1,400 civil rights to couples and their families. A couple who wants to civilly marry can do so without having a religious ceremony.

Many faith traditions do recognize both the religious rite of marriage of same-gender couples and support the civil right for same-gender couples to marry. In Vermont, over 125 clergy have signed in support of the freedom for same-gender couples to legally marry.

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What is the Declaration of Religious Support?

The Declaration of Religious Support is a public statement created by supportive Vermont clergy that declares their support for the freedom of same-gender couples to marry. To help people of faith who are genuinely struggling with this issue, the Declaration offers an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of faith related to our civic engagement, our constitutionally protected right to worship freely, and the freedom for ALL to marry as a matter of social justice. Clergy who sign the Declaration are listed by denomination in alphabetical order. We distribute it at county fairs, community events, house parties, and churches and synagogues throughout the state.

If you are a supportive clergy person or lay leader, sign the Declaration today!

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6 Things Clergy Can Do to Support the Freedom to Marry

  1. Sign the Declaration of Religious Support of Civil Marriage for Same-gender Couples.
    You may sign on behalf of your congregation or as an individual clergy member of your denomination. The Declaration provides clergy and faith communities the opportunity to demonstrate their, and/or their congregation's support for the freedom to marry.
  2. Ask 5 other clergy members to sign the Declaration. Please download a copy of the Declaration Sign-up Form to ask your fellow clergy to sign.The completed form can be mailed to the address listed on the form.
  3. Invite a trained speaker to your congregation, interfaith group, or congregation committee.
    Volunteers throughout the state are available to speak with your congregation, committee, interfaith group or the community at large. They can share their personal experiences about why equal marriage rights are important to them and their families. Email Robyn at field_director@vtfreetomarry.org to invite a speaker.
  4. Share our Voices of Vermonters DVD with your congregation and fellow clergy.
    Viewers hear from Vermonters who share their personal stories to address the issues surrounding civil marriage equality. Feel free to invite a VFM representative to talk about next steps in Vermont to gain full civil marriage equality and to address questions folks may have. Please email Robyn Maguire at field_director@vtfreetomarry.org or call 802.310.6683.
  5. Coordinate with VFM to organize an interfaith service or community event.
    Collaborate with VFM and other denominations to host an interfaith service, vigil or other community event.  Please email Robyn Maguire at field_director@vtfreetomarry.org or call 802.310.6683 coordinate an interfaith service with VFM.
  6. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. To provide a balanced religious perspective and to be a strong, vocal advocate for the freedom to marry, please write a letter to the editor of your local paper. All too often, radical religious leaders and individuals use local papers to mislead the public about this issue. Supportive clergy members have a unique opportunity to demonstrate religious support for civil marriage for same-gender couples. Write a letter to the editor today!

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Resources for Clergy

  • The Episcopal Diocese of Vermont - Task Force on Blessing Same Gender Relationships - Bishop Thomas Ely appointed a Task Force on the Blessing of Persons Living in Same Gender Relationships in September, 2003. He said, "The ministry of gay and lesbian persons, lay and clergy alike, is significant in our diocese and for that I give thanks. Likewise, it is pastorally important for us to move forward with clarity about the church's blessing of those who wish to be joined in civil unions in our congregations."
  • The Episcopal Diocese of Vermont Resource Page - A resource page that offers downloadable information regarding same-gender couples and faith within the Episcopal church.
  • Claiming the Blessings Voices of Witness - A video created by Claiming the Blessings, CLAIMING the BLESSING is an intentional collaborative ministry of leading Episcopal justice organizations to provide the church our witness as Christians, and as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people of great faith.
  • Claiming the Blessing PDF - A collection of essays prepared for the 2002 General Convention of the U.S. Episcopal Church.
  • UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns - A national organization that provides resources for people of faith and UCC churches on LGBT issues.
  • VT United Church of Christ Open and Affirming Churches - A list of Vermont Conference UCC churches that are open and affirming to welcome all people.
  • VT Unitarian Universalist GLBT resource page - Unitarian Universalism is very supportive of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender (BGLT) people and their families, and has officially welcomed this community since 1970. This page offers resources for people of faith and UU Churches.
  • List of UU Churches in Vermont
  • Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism - RAC educates and mobilizes the American Jewish community on legislative and social concerns, advocating on issues from economic justice to civil rights to religious liberty to Israel. This link is dedicated to GLBT equal rights.
  • Welcoming Resources - This NGLTF-sponsored site offeres religious resources that support the unconditional welcome of people of all sexual orientations, gender identities & their families in the church home of their choice.
  • Articles of Faith - A series of commentary pieces on the intersection of faith and the struggle for inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in religion. Written by members of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, these insightful commentaries gathered by NGLTF shed light on the welcoming efforts of many faiths towards LGBT people.
  • National Religious Leadership Roundtable - The National Religious Roundtable is an interfaith network of leaders from pro-LGBT faith, spiritual and religious organizations that brings together people of faith who support GLBT people.
  • Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith page - HRC offers several resources to clergy and communities of faith its site.

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