African-Americans, clergy, and African-American clergy have been some of the real powerhouse groups that have been instrumental in making marriage equality a reality in the District of Columbia.  

Love has won out over fear,” said Rev. Dennis Wiley, co-pastor at Covenant Baptist Church and a co-chair of DC Clergy United for Marriage Equality. “Equality has won out over prejudice.  Faith has won out over despair.”

We rejoice with the loving couples who have worked so hard and waited so long for this opportunity to seal their commitment,” said Rev. Christine Wiley, co-pastor at Covenant Baptist Church and also a co-chair of DC Clergy United. “It’s a great day for Washington.”

In Washington, D.C., nearly 200 clergy chose to stand on the side of love,” DC Clergy United co-chair Rev. Robert Hardies, senior pastor at All Souls Church, Unitarian, said.  ”We represent many faiths and many communities, but we share a vision for our city.  And today we share the joyful news that many loving couples in our congregations will soon be getting married.”

While clergy, members of Congress, Mayor Fenty, city council members and regular citizens rejoice with us tonight, I am privately rejoicing for the very fact of each and every one of them.  I don’t know any of them – not even one of them.  I can’t even know how many there are or what they did to help.  But together they acted on principle and have removed a major legal obstacle to liberty and the pursuit of happiness for me and my brothers and sisters in DC.  I am awed and humbled.

DC Clergy United for Marriage’s press release and statement are below the fold.

Related: Pro-equality clergy greatly outnumber the anti-gay variety in Washington, D.C.

DC CLERGY REJOICE AT MARRIAGE EQUALITY MILESTONE IN NATION’S CAPITAL

City Religious Leaders Celebrate with Same-Sex Couples as Barriers to Legal Marriage Fall

Members of the multiracial, multifaith DC Clergy United for Marriage Equality are celebrating with same-sex couples who will soon be permitted to marry legally in the nation’s capital.  Marriage license applications will be available to same-sex couples on Wednesday morning.

“Love has won out over fear,” said Rev. Dennis Wiley, co-pastor at Covenant Baptist Church and a co-chair of DC Clergy United for Marriage Equality. “Equality has won out over prejudice.  Faith has won out over despair.”

“We rejoice with the loving couples who have worked so hard and waited so long for this opportunity to seal their commitment,” said Rev. Christine Wiley, co-pastor at Covenant Baptist Church and also a co-chair of DC Clergy United. “It’s a great day for Washington.”

DC Clergy United co-chair Rev. Robert Hardies, senior pastor at All Souls Church, Unitarian, celebrated the historic role that clergy leaders have played in the effort to bring legal marriage equality to the District of Columbia.

“In Washington, D.C., nearly 200 clergy chose to stand on the side of love,” Hardies said.  ”We represent many faiths and many communities, but we share a vision for our city.  And today we share the joyful news that many loving couples in our congregations will soon be getting married.”

Members of DC Clergy United for Marriage played a visible role in the marriage equality debate, holding press conferences, testifying at D.C. Council hearings on marriage equality legislation, and challenging anti-equality leaders who claimed to represent people of faith in the District of Columbia.

In December, Mayor Adrian Fenty signed marriage equality legislation that was passed overwhelmingly by the Council of the District of Columbia.  With the expiration of the congressional review period to which all D.C. Council legislation is subject, same-sex couples will be permitted to apply for marriage licenses beginning Wednesday morning, March 3; the first date for weddings will be March 9.

DC Clergy United for Marriage Equality released the following statement:

God is love and love is for everyone. In this spirit we have raised our voices in the struggle for the right and freedom to marry.  In this spirit we now rejoice with all the couples in our communities and congregations who will soon be able to be married.

We represent many faiths, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. We represent religious institutions in every ward in the District. We have worked together over many years for peace and justice. We are grateful to have played our part in bringing greater justice to the people of D.C. and the loving same-sex couples in our congregations.

We congratulate the activists who have worked diligently for many years to bring marriage equality to D.C.  We thank the councilmembers and mayor who supported equality and who stood firm against threats and misinformation.

We encourage those who expressed heartfelt disagreement on this issue to respect the decisions of our elected officials and courts.  We firmly support the unquestioned right of every religious leader and congregation to decide whether or not to bless same-sex marriages.  And we ask that they respect the rights of those clergy and congregations who will soon joyfully extend the blessing of marriage to loving same-sex couples.