In February, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio held an interfaith “Freedom to Love, Freedom to Marry” service attended by over 300 people and described by Robert Rice, Jr., co-chair of the congregation’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), as “a whopping success!” The service was funded in part by a grant from the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Freedom to Marry Fund, which gives grants to Unitarian Universalist congregations and groups across the country for work in lobbying, advertising, and educating about marriage equality.
Clergy from seven religious denominations participated including representatives from the Unitarian Universalist, Baptist, United Church of Christ, Episcopalian, and Jewish faith traditions. The service affirmed the congregations’ commitment to marriage equality and gave participants the opportunity to rededicate themselves to a partner or spouse. In addition, a collection taken at the event enabled the congregation to make a donation of over $500 to the Equality Ohio Education Fund.
The planning committee, based primarily out of First UU Columbus, used a multi-prong approach to publicize the event that combined social, print, and mainstream media. Their amazing efforts garnered them an op-ed in Outlook, an interview on the local radio program “All Sides with Ann Fisher,” an article in the Columbus Dispatch, and coverage by the Columbus NBC affiliate.
Rice said of the event, “I would like to thank the Unitarian Universalist Association for the support of the wonderful event. The GSA and the Justice Action Ministry at First UU Church will continue to work towards marriage equality in Ohio.”
You can watch highlights from “Freedom to Love, Freedom to Marry” here:
In 2012, monies have also been donated from the President’s Freedom to Marry Fund to the UU Legislative Ministry of Maryland to support a marriage equality prayer breakfast at the height of the legislative session and to the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance to support their organizing efforts against a proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.
Get more information on UUA Freedom to Marry grants here.