Religious Leaders Meet To Respond To Right’s Political Manipulation Of Religion

July 27, 1998

Support and Affirm Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Spirituality, Equality and Justice

People of faith have mobilized nationwide to stand for equal treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. We refuse to be erased from the religious landscape of this country.
Laura Montgomery-Rutt, National Organizer, Equal Partners In Faith

Over 30 national religious leaders from many faith traditions gathered in Washington on July 23 - 24, to express their support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people in the wake of recent advertisements paid for by the Christian right. The leaders vowed to speak out together from a faith perspective to challenge the religious right's manipulation of religion to promote a political agenda, and to affirm the spirituality and equality of GLBT persons and supporters all across our nation. The meeting, along with a national press conference, was held at the Washington Plaza Hotel.

"There is a growing movement of understanding and affirmation for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people of faith across this country. It is in direct response to the basic teachings of our faith communities which call for justice and a proclamation of God's unconditional love," said Bob Gibeling, Executive Director of Lutherans Concerned.

"We are here to expose the lie that religious belief and acceptance of gays, lesbians, and bisexual human beings created in the image of God stand in contradiction to each other," said Lee Walzer, Vice President of the World Congress of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Jewish Organizations.

Upcoming plans by members of the Roundtable include a press conference in September, 1998 and a prayer breakfast at the Capitol in January, 1999 during the Second National Religious Leadership Roundtable, with additional actions and events to be announced in the coming year.

"Working together in an overwhelming spirit of cooperation to educate the public and the media about the broad base of religious support for gay rights is a major step in the GLBT religious movement with incredible potential to make an enormous impact for justice and equality," stated Chris Purdom, Religious Roundtable attendee and Co-coordinator of the Interfaith Working Group.

This unprecedented National Religious Leadership Roundtable was co-convened by the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Equal Partners In Faith. This is an ongoing initiative. The Roundtable gathers representatives of over 30 national faith based organizations, representing millions of people of faith who support equality for GLBT people. These faith-based organizations include:

  • Unitarian Universalist Association of America
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • U.S. Urban Rural Mission, World Council of Churches
  • Dignity/USA (Catholics)
  • World Congress of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Jewish Organizations
  • United Methodist Covenant Relationships Network
  • Equal Partners in Faith
  • The Interfaith Working Group
  • Reconciling Congregations Program
  • Disciples Justice Action Network
  • Methodist Federation for Social Action; The Interfaith
  • Alliance; Unity Fellowship Church
  • New Ways Ministry
  • Integrity (Episcopalian)
  • Affirmation (United Methodist)
  • The Brethren/Mennonite Council
  • Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance, Inc.
  • Lutherans Concerned
  • More Light Presbyterians
  • Metropolitan Community Church;
  • AIDS National Interfaith Network
  • and more...


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.