A coalition of over 300 clergy in Indiana has signed an open letter addressed to lawmakers, calling for a stop to a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages.
The Interfaith Coalition on Non-Discrimination delivered the letter to the State House on Monday.
It reads: “We are Indiana clergy, leaders of faith communities, and other religious professionals.
“Our backgrounds and those of the people we serve vary widely. Our views on marriage differ. But we speak with one voice to oppose amending the Indiana Constitution to define marriage.
“Each of us who signs this letter respects the right of religious groups to decide whether or not to sanction marriage or other unions of same-gender couples.
“The Indiana Bill of Rights guarantees the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, and prevents the giving of a legal preference to any creed. Preferring and codifying one particular religious view of marriage in the Indiana Constitution flies in the face of both of these guarantees.
“The drafters of the Indiana Constitution included six provisions in Bill of Rights that seek, in various ways, to ensure that the government does not interfere with, or direct, religious beliefs or practices.
“We ask you to respect this grant of religious freedom and allow Indiana’s various faith communities to continue to discern their individual paths with respect to same-gender marriage or other same-gender unions.
“The Marriage Amendment would increase discrimination and undermine religious freedom. We urge you to vote against it.”
Supporters of the petition include both Christian and Jewish clergy from a wide range of denominations.
In 2011, the Indiana Senate approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages and civil unions by 40 votes to 10. The public gallery had to be cleared after gay rights protesters shouted at politicians.