LGBTQ+ Justice

The United Church of Christ General Synod has long advocated for the civil rights of LGBTQ people, grounded in the recognition of the God-given worth and dignity of every individual.

The first national UCC body to affirm civil rights for LGBT people did so in 1969. The Council for Christian Social Action, a predecessor body to Justice and Local Church Ministries adopted the “Resolution on Homosexuals and the Law.” In 1972, the UCC ordained the first openly gay person into ministry, the Rev. William R. Johnson. In 1985, the UCC’s General Synod declared itself to be “open and affirming” and called upon all settings of the church to become similarly poised to welcome LGBTQ+ persons as full members of the church.

In addition to the multiple social policy statements made by the UCC on LGBTQ+ concerns, and the Open and Affirming designation for congregations, the UCC has also long advocated for LGBTQ+ justice in federal policy through the work of the Washington D.C. Office of Public Policy and Advocacy.

The Current State of LGBTQ+ Rights

While there have been important gains over the last several years in securing LGBTQ+ civil rights protections, there remain significant gaps in the law that leave LGBTQ+ Americans vulnerable to discrimination. These gaps are especially prominent in light of the many recent discriminatory bills being passed in state legislatures. Absent a federal law providing consistent nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity, states are free to continue this dangerous path of discriminatory legislation that is deeply harmful to the LGBTQ community.

For years, the UCC Washington D.C. Office has fought for the passage of the Equality Act. The Equality Act would provide federal nondiscrimination protection across key areas of daily life, including employment, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs, and jury service. It is a much-needed fix for the current uneven patchwork of state nondiscrimination protections.

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Jessica Quinn
Online Communications Specialist