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THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION AND HOMOSEXUALITY

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The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is a liberal religious organization, serving the "UU" congregations in North America. Its churches and fellowships total approximately 250,000 members. The UUA was formed in 1961-MAY-11 from the merger of the Unitarian and Universalist Churches. They have long been active promoters of equal rights for all, having been very prominent in the fight against segregation, for access to abortion, and for equal rights for women. They continue this tradition by advocating equal rights for gays and lesbians, including the right to marry.

The UU Association was the first large religious organization in North America to welcome homosexuals and bisexuals as full members, eligible to become clergy. They were also the first major religious group to open an office to in support of equal civil rights for (and social acceptance of) Gays and Lesbians. This has expanded in recent years to include both Bisexual and transgender people. In the past, they have been viewed as one of the most liberal of the large Christian denominations. Currently, only about 10% of their members consider themselves to be Christians; many do not consider them a Christian group.

In 1970, their General Assembly passed a resolution to oppose laws which criminalized some forms of adult consensual sexual activity, which discriminated against gays and lesbians in employment, and which restricted US government issuance of security clearances, visas and citizenship. This led to the creation of an Office on Gay Affairs in 1973

In 1977, the General Assembly passed a resolution calling on its congregations to fight misinformation being disseminated against homosexuals. A second resolution called for an end to persecution and intolerance of gays.

In 1980, they passed a resolution urging the UUA to help openly homosexual and bisexual clergy find postings.

In 1984, they passed a resolution affirming the use of "services of union" to recognize committed same-sex relationships.

In 1987 they called upon the UUA to promote the annulment of sodomy laws and the creation of laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In 1993, they publicly protested North Carolina's anti-sodomy laws. the General Assembly also formally endorsed the March on Washington for Lesbians, Gay and Bisexual Equal Rights and Liberation."

In 1994, they supported the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation.

In 1996, prior to the UUA General Assembly meeting in JUN in Indianapolis IN, the UUA Board of Trustees and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association had voted in favor the legalization of same-sex marriages. At the General Assembly meeting a Resolution of Immediate Witness in support of the legalization of same-sex marriages was presented to the delegates. Couples who had been joined in a Ceremony of Union were specifically invited to attend and be recognized. The resolution noted that for the previous 26 years, the UUA had "adopted numerous resolutions... supporting equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, including support for Ceremonies of Union between members of the same sex". They urged its congregations to "take an affirmative position in support of the value of marriage between any two committed persons, whether of the same or opposite sexes, and to make those positions known in their home communities." The resolution passed with only a few dissenting votes among the approximately 1700 delegates.

In 1997, they passed a resolution encouraging the patronage of businesses that have policies of non-discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity.

On 2004-MAY-20 same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts . Unitarian Universalist churches in the state took a major role in solemnizing same-sex marriages, and celebrating the availability of marriage to same-sex couples for the first time in the U.S.

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Interweave 

Interweave Continental, Inc is an organization affiliated with the UUA and composed of Unitarian Universalist members. They are "dedicated to the spiritual, political, and social well-being of Unitarian Universalists who are confronting oppression as lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender persons, and their heterosexual allies; and facilitates the celebration of the culture and lives of its members. who promote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender concerns." 2

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References:

  1. The UUA has prepared a list of resolutions produced by its General Assembly on a variety of human sexuality topics from 1963 to the present time. See: http://www.uua.org/ 
  2. Interweave has a home page at: http://qrd.tcp.com/ 

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