Modesto area religious leaders respond to Proposition 8 ruling

May 27, 2009 

'Those who have a clear historic view of the Bible and its practices for the past 2,000 years are rejoicing. Those who feel their rights are being infringed upon and feel like second-class citizens are sad, and some are angry. I was encouraged by the court's decision, both biblically and legally. I believe it is in line with the Bible for what is best for individuals and society at large. I say this without an attitude of malice or superiority. Homosexuality is just one of the sexual sins in the Bible. There are heterosexual sins as well. We all need God's help to walk in his ways.'

— the Rev. Wade Estes, pastor of First Baptist Church of Modesto, which hosted a pro-Proposition 8 rally by state sponsors before November's vote

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'I'm pleased that the couples who did get married will be recognized in law. It would have been a terrible abuse if they had been told that having been married under the law, they would no longer have that. But I'm disappointed. ... From a religious point of view, if we talk about love and justice, we can't help but know that this goes against both of those. We (as a church) continue to bless their (same-sex) unions and hope California can figure out that when we talk about all people being equal, we mean all people.'

— the Rev. Grace Simons, pastor of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, who officiated at the first same-sex wedding in Modesto on June 17, 2008

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'The recent decision to uphold the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is a welcomed response for three reasons:

1. The citizens of California expressed their understanding that marriage is between a male and a female;

2. It demonstrates that California's Supreme Court is recognizing that it should not legislate laws of the state;

3. The voters' rights have been recognized and thus secures the principles of democracy that are determined by the majority.

That which is still problematic for the Christian Orthodox Church, however, is that the high court did not recognize that the vote regarding Proposition 8 should be retroactive.'

— Father Jon Magoulias, Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Modesto
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'We had many (same-sex) marriages performed at our church. ... We're glad that those have been upheld. Our church affirms the dignity of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. Within our church, some people want marriage equality, while others would be satisfied with civil unions. For me, personally, I would like to see the day when all would have the right to marry.'

— Dori McElroy, moderator of College Avenue Congregational Church, where three same-sex couples married June 17, 2008

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'I am surprised at the strength of the court's 6-1 ruling in favor of Proposition 8, but am pleased that respect for traditional marriage has been upheld in California.'

— Chuck Adams, senior pastor, The Carpenter's House

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