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Featured Lesbian Wedding Vendor: Valerie Coleman, Officiant, New York City, New York

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Valerie Coleman, Officiant

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

If you’re looking at this website then you must be getting married, so let me start by congratulating you and your partner! This is an exciting time in our struggle for equality. I am so proud to be a New Yorker AND a wedding officiant who also happens to be a lesbian!

See Valerie’s Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in New York

Breaking: United Church of Christ Files Lawsuit Against North Carolina’s Marriage Equality Ban

Monday, April 28th, 2014

North Carolina MapThis just in – a gay-friendly church has filed a lawsuit in North Carolina saying that the ban on marriage equality violates its religious freedom.

The Washington Blade reports:

The United Church of Christ and a group of clergy and same-sex couples on Monday filed a federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The lawsuit — which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina — argues the marriage amendment violates the religious beliefs of denominations and congregants who support the recognition of gay nuptials and clergy who want to perform them. Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, president of the United Church of Christ, and Rev. Nancy Kraft of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Charlotte are among the plaintiffs who attended a Charlotte press conference.

“As a senior minister, I am often asked to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples in my congregation,” said Rev. Joe Hoffman of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville, who is a plaintiff along with Diane Ansley and Cathy McGaughey, two of his congregants who have been together for 14 years. “My denomination — the United Church of Christ — authorizes me to perform these ceremonies, but Amendment One denies my religious freedom by prohibiting me from exercising this right.”

It seems like a great argument – after all, whose religious freedom is more infringed, for-profit business owners who must follow the law in marriage equality states, or actual pastors and ministers who are forbidden from marrying same sex couples in anti-gay marriage state?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

USA, Arizona: Here We Go Again

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Arizona mapThere’s another bill brewing in Arizona that would allow some public employees to refuse to perform weddings for same sex couples. reports:

House Bill 2481, which has advanced on mostly party-line committee votes and is awaiting a debate by the full House of Representatives, would prevent government from requiring ordained clergy and judges to “solemnize a marriage that is inconsistent with the minister’s sincerely held religious beliefs.” The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Litchfield Park, is narrower than SB 1062, which would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they could have proved they acted upon a “sincerely held religious belief.”…

The Anti-Defamation League has spoken against a provision that would extend the right to refuse to conduct ceremonies to judges, justices of the peace and clerks who perform them. Religious officials are already exempt from lawsuits filed by people who feel they were wrongly denied marriage services, said Tracey Stewart, assistant regional director for the Anti- Defamation League. But judges and other civil servants are not men of the cloth, she said. “Those are usually individuals who are employed by government,” Stewart said. Part of their public service as a government official extends to performing civil, not religious, marriage ceremonies, she said.

You would think Arizona lawmakers, so recently stung by the Right to Discriminate bill, would be gun-shy about taking up another bill that allows discrimination. We shall see.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

USA, Indiana: 300 Clergy Members Call on State Not to Ban Marriage Equality

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

The Interfaith Coalition on NondiscriminationA group of Indiana clergy members is urging the state not to move ahead with the proposed ban on gay marriage.

Gay Star News reports:

The clergy, from Indiana’s Interfaith Coalition on Non-Discrimination, say the clergy oppose formally banning same-sex marriage for a range of reasons but are united in their opposition. ‘We are Indiana clergy, leaders of faith communities, and other religious professionals,’ their open letter reads. ‘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.’

It’s becoming more and more commonplace for clergy members to stand up for the rights of LGBT citizens. It’s such a refreshing change.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

New Mexico, USA: Clergy Push for Marriage Equality

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

New Mexico MapReligious leaders in marriage equality are endorsing marriage equality. The New Mexican reports:

Nearly 100 religious leaders in New Mexico released a statement of support for marriage equality Tuesday in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and Equality New Mexico. The signatories include both active and retired faith leaders from around the state, representing a variety of denominations and faith traditions, including more than a dozen from Santa Fe, where the City Council passed a resolution last month urging the state attorney general and county clerks to allow licenses for same-sex marriages.

This move comes after the mayor of Santa Fe declared the city open for same sex weddings last month.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Mexico.

Scotland, UK: Clergy to Defy Proposed Ban on Gay weddings

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Scottish Clergy to Defy Proposed Ban on Gay weddingsChurch of Scotland clergy have said that they will join more than 150 Church of England vicars to defy any bans placed on them from holding same-sex marriages.

In England and Wales, the Government has said that it will ban the Church of England from performing same-sex marriages, although all other churches will be free to opt-in to marrying gay couples.

The Scottish Government does not intend to ban any church, even the Church of Scotland. Although the Church has indicated that it will opt-out.

See the Full Story at Pink News

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

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African American Clergy Oppose Amendment One

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

African American Clergy Oppose Amendment OneThis is another firm message that religion-based bigotry has no place in NC- people’s civil rights should never be on the ballot, no matter what you personally believe about marriage equality.

A group of 15 interfaith African American Clergy in Greensboro took out a full page ad in the Carolina Peacemaker, a well-known black newspaper in Guilford County. There will be a Rally Against Amendment One at the 5000-member Mt. Zion Baptist Church on May 6 at 4:30 PM.

Full Story from Pam’s House Blend

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

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Church of England Clergy Push for Marriage Equality

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

As the Church of England prepares for its General Synod meeting, which begins Monday, some clergy members are calling for greater acceptance of LGBT people within the denomination.

The denomination refuses to allow civil partnerships, a marriage-like union available to same-sex couples in the U.K., to be performed in its churches, and it allows clergy to be in civil partnerships but requires them to be celibate.

An open letter signed by more than 100 London priests who say clergy should be allowed to perform civil partnerships in their churches if they so desire was published Thursday in London’s Times, Pink Newsreports. “This should be a matter for the individual conscience,” they wrote, as is the decision on whether to perform marriages for divorced people. The bishop of London, the Right Reverend Richard Chartres, responded by saying there are more pressing issues for the church to deal with, according to London’s Guardian.

Full Story from The Advocate

Click here for gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.

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Australia: Clergy Comes Out for Marriage Equality

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Australia Gay MarriageA group of prominent Australian Christian clergy have put their support for same-sex marriage on the record a day before Christian opponents of marriage equality stage a rally in the Great Hall of Parliament in Canberra.

The Uniting Church, Baptist and Anglican clergy made their statements following the launch of a new Christian campaign for marriage equality, Christians For Gay Marriage, on Friday through which 9,400 Australian Christians have already sent letters to their MPs since its website ( was launched.

The clergy’s statements also appear on the campaign’s website. “As the founder of the Christians For Gay Marriage lobby group and as someone who is an ordained minister with a same gendered partner I strongly support the right of GLBTI people to marry,” wrote Blackwood Uniting Church minister Leanne Jenski in her statement.

Full Story from the Star Observer

Click here for gay wedding resources in Australia.

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NY: How Churches Helped Pass Landmark Marriage Equality Law

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Early in the week that ended with New York enacting same-sex marriage, the Rev. Anna Taylor Sweringen stood in a hallway just outside the State Senate chambers. She wore her clerical collar and held a sign saying, “Equality now.” Around her gathered ministers and rabbis of similar sentiment, all in Albany to lobby and pray for the right of gay couples to wed.

As Ms. Taylor Sweringen looked down the corridor, she saw the mirror image of mobilized clergy members, all irreconcilably opposed. One held a placard declaring, “God says no.” Then the assemblage broke into a gospel song. “I told Satan to get thee behind,” it went. “Victory today is mine.”

Among her allies, Ms. Taylor Sweringen responded with a spiritual from the civil rights movement, “I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table.” Soon the dueling choirs were lining up along facing walls, barely inches apart, and the state police had to clear a path between them like a boxing referee.

Full Story from The New York Times

Click here for gay wedding resources in New York.

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