As religious people, clergy, and leaders, we are mandated to stand for justice in our common civic life. Religious leaders before us have spoken to end slavery, and to ensure equal rights to all persons regardless of gender, nationality, religion, and race. We declare that our faith calls us to affirm civil marriage equality for loving, same-sex couples.

God is love and love is for everyone. In this spirit we raise our voices in the struggle for the right and freedom to marry.

Ohio Faith Leaders Speaking Out

Pastor Tim Ahrens, First Congregational Church

“When I was ordained in June 1985, there were those who I struggled to love as my neighbors. They were LGBT persons. I pretended to be loving, but in my heart I was not. It took me about six years to come to grips with my prejudice and judgment. Now, for the last 23 years, I have ministered among LGBT persons as a “recovering homophobe.” It has been an honor and a blessing to consecrate and celebrate many marriages of LGBT couples in that time… The right to be married should be extended to all loving, committed couples. As a Christian leader in Ohio, I call all my colleagues – pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and other leaders to join me in this belief. Now is the time. Let us be bold in doing the right thing.”

Pastor Luke Lindon, Associate Pastor, Sylvania United Church of Christ

“As a person of faith, I worship a God of love. That’s why I strongly believe that if two people who love each other want to commit their lives to one another, they should be able to share in that fundamental freedom. Like a growing number of Ohioans, I support the freedom to marry because of—not in spite of—my faith.”

Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp, Temple Sholom

“As Jews, we know all too well about exclusion, shame, and inequality – in our city, in our country, and in the greater world. As so, our eyes and ears must be tuned for injustice in our own community. It is our duty as a people of faith to remind the world of our strongest convictions, and in this case, it is that all love is the same. The love of LGBT families is the same as our love.”

Frank Parmir, Director, Muslims for Progressive Values

“As Muslims, we are called to submission. We are called to reflect the compassion and mercy of Allah. This is especially true when our brothers and sisters suffer an injustice. The denial of marriage rights to the LGBT community is an egregious injustice. Of course it is not the only injustice in the world. But, it is an injustice and we Muslims must testify against it, even if our testimony is against ourselves. If our brother or our sister says to us: “I am gay, and I am Muslim.” We mustn’t say back to them: “You are not.” We must accept them without judgment. We must not argue. In time all will be revealed. We must want for others what we want for ourselves; else we are not believers.”

Senior Pastor Lesley E. Jones, Truth & Destiny Covenant Ministries

“I support the right of all loving and committed couples to enter into marriage on an equal basis regardless of gender. This is a right to be enjoyed, celebrated and recognized. This state nor any state should not deny individuals their fundamental freedom to marry whom they love. God is love and love is for everyone. ”

Pastor David Meredith, Clifton United Methodist Church

“The journey toward equality for all couples in marriage has been a long one for me and for the congregation I serve; it has been a journey from individual affirmation and acceptance of persons of all sexual orientations to a congregational welcome and celebration of persons for all sexual orientations.”

Pastor Laura Strietelmeier, Hope Lutheran Church in Toledo

“God has given human beings the gift of love for one another, and that love is not dependent on race, religion, ethnicity or gender. As Christians who believe in a loving God who is committed to us no matter what, we should celebrate and honor the loving commitments of same gendered persons to one another in the covenant of marriage.”

Ohio Faith Leaders for Marriage

Northwest Ohio

Beth Marshall, First Unitarian of Toledo
Dave Beckwith, Trinity Episcopal Church
Dr. Rev. D. L. Perryman, Center of Hope Baptist Church
Ed Heilman, Park Congregational
Elizabeth M. Hoster, Trinity Episcopal
Gary Saunders, First Presbyterian Church
Heather Dinklage, First Unitarian
PastorKevin Maxey, Hope Lutheran
Rev.Laura Strietelmeier, Hope Lutheran
Luke Linden, Sylvania UCC
Rev.Lynn Kerr, Maumee Valley UUC
Mary Jane Saunders, First Presbyterian Church
Rev. Cheri Holdridge, The Village Church
Sam Buehrer, Sylvania UCC
Cindy Ritter, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
Rev.Jessica Anders, Double J’s Divine Unity Ministries
Rev.Jerome Howell, Double J’s Divine Unity Ministries
Rev.Sarah Richey, Hampton Park Christian Church
Mary Jo Yeakel, Ada First United Methodist
Rev.Lori Ann Strang, Redeemer Lutheran
Rev.Martin Billmeier, St. Lucas Lutheran Church
Julie Beitelschees, All Saints Lutheran

Northeast Ohio

Evelyn Manzella, St. James Episcopal Church
Joseph M. Cherry, Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland
Denis L. Paul, East Shore UU Church
Bob Javorsky, Our Wedding Officiant
Jon Acri, United Church of Christ Federated Chruch
Wayne Arnason, West Shore UU
Matthew Asplaugh, Youngstown UU
Bonnie Bates, EOA/WRA Associations
Susan A. Blain, UCC National Office
Mary Schaller Blaufuss, UCC National Office
Kelly Burd, Pilgrim UCC
Sam Byrd, Westfield Center Universalist Church
Andy Call, First United Methodist of Oberlin
Paula Maeder Connor, Trinity Lutheran Church
Diane Covault, Church of the Saviour
Dennis Coy, Congregational UCC
Linda Crissey, Tallmadge UMC
Chad Delaney, Mantua Center Christian Church
Robert J. Dreese, First Grace
James Ellison, Retired
Detra Evans, LGBT Ministries of Cleveland, Mt. Zion Congregational
Karen Farthing, First Congregational UCC
Julie Fisher, Christ Episcopal Church
Tyrese Gamble, The House of God
Ruth Garwood, First Congregational Church of Elyria
Anissa Glaser-Bacon, New Vision UCC
Jenei Grigg, West Side UCC
Bill Grulich, Pilgrim UCC
Adam Hange, Plymouth UCC
Allen Harris, Franklin Circle Christian Church
David Hill, The First Church in Oberln
Craig Hoffman, Archwood UCC
Bob Holland, Cascade Community Church
David E. Houdeschell, St. Jacobs United Church of Christ
Howard Humphress, East Ohio Conference
Donna Jackson, Church of the Saviour
Heather Kimmel, UCC National Headquarters
Don King, Hope Lutheran
Kelly King, Fellowship UCC
Heather Kirkconnell, First Congregational Elyria
Arnold Klaiber, Retired
Andy Lang, Executive Director for UCC Coalition of LGBT Concerns
Bill Liming, Tallmadge UMC
Tracey Lind, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Gordon Martin, POPCE Ministries
Mary Lyn Martin, UMC
Chris McCreight, Pilgrim Christian Church
Beth McGuire, First Christian Church
Roger McKinney, Hiram Christian Church
Dennis McMillan, Franklin Circle Christian Church
Waltrina Middleton, UCC National Office
Shawnthea Monroe, Plymouth UCC
Rod Mundy, Dover UCC
Jeff Nelson, Grace UCC
Joy Parker, UMC
David Pattee, Kent UCC
Doris Powell, Retired
Mindy Quellhorst, Grace UCC
Kathryn Rackley, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Deborah Rhinesmith, Fairlawn-West
Kathleen Rolenz, West Shore UU
Sara Ross, Archwood UCC
Doug Sewell, All Saints Community Church
Shuenemeyer Michael, UCC National Office
Chris Stark, Lakewood Christian Church
Nell Taylor, Westlake UMC
Thomas Taylor, Westlake UMC
Bill Watts, UMC Uniontown, OH
Maureen Webber, The Bath Church, UCC
Paul White, UMC
Fr. Brian K. Wilbert, Christ Church
Brooke Willis, Pilgrim Congregational UCC
David Zerby, First Christian Church Disciples

Central Ohio

Rusty Andrews, Second Chance Ministry
Ellen Boriin, First Congregation
Thomas Brownfield, First Congregation
Grayson Atha, Gates-4th UMC
Margaret Cipriani, First Congregation
Dan Clark, First Congregation
Jim Gallagher, First Congregation
Inez George, First Congregation
Barbra Glover, First Congregation
Judy Guion-Utsler, Otterbein University
Trecia Holdren, King Avenue United Methodist Church
Rick Kellner, Congregation Beth Tikvah
Nancy Livingston, First Congregation
Darin Rothe, King Avenue United Methodist Church
Mark Rylance, King Avenue United Methodist Church
Misha Zinkow, Temple Israel
Martha Ann Baumer, First Congregational Church
Celestine Slater-Brooks, David’s UCC
Pastor Tim Ahrens, First Congregational Church
Rev. Virginia “Gini” Bauman, St. John’s Evangelical Protestant Church
Rev. Mark Belletini, First Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Pastor Carmeka Benning, Driven By Purpose Ministries
Pastor April Blaine, Summit on 16th
Rev. Deborah Bolen, First Christian Church
Rev. Harrison Bolen, First Christian Church
Lane Campbell, First Unitarian Universalist Church
Cantor Jack Chomsky, Tifereth Israel
Rev. Kelly R. Cross, Grace New Covenant Ministries
Rev. Danny Dahl, New Horizons UMC
Rev. Dwight Davidson, United Church of Granville
Luke Delong, Stone Village Church
Rev. Mark W. Diemer, Grace of God Lutheran
James C. Donnan, Livingston United Methodist Church
Rev. Jean Feeney, North Congregational
Father Tom Fehr, Grace Episcopal Church
Rev. Kathleen Fowler, First Unitarian Universalist
Jeffrey Furry, Stone Village Church
Rev. Anna Guillozet, King Avenue United Methodist Church
Julie Henderson, First UU Columbus
Elder Nelson Hewitt, Christian Methodist Episcopal
Rev. Heather Hicks, Gender Road Christian Church
Rev. Ellen Huffman, Fringe Community
Chaplain Benjamin Iten, First Unitarian Universalist
Lyndsey Johnston, Maynard Avenue UMC
Kevin Jones, First Congregational Church
Christian Ed. Leader Justin Kale, Saint Andrew Christian Church
Christian Ed. Leader Yvonne Kale, Saint Andrew Christian Church
Pastor John Keeny, King Ave UMC
Board President Carolyn Kneisly, Delaware UU Fellowship
Rev. Dwain Lee, Worthington Presbyterian Church
Pastoral Intern Jason Leighton, Summit on 16th
Marilyn E. Lloyd, North Congregational
Rev. Eric Meter, First UU
Rev. Linda Middleberg, King Ave UMC
Board President John Milam, Ohio Valley UU
Karen Mitchell, St. John’s UCC
Shaba Mitchell, Driven By Purpose Ministries
Rev. Eric Moehring, Faith Lutheran Church
Pastor Colleen Ogle, King Avenue United Methodist Church
Rev. Rebecca Ozcomert, Riverside UMC
Director Frank Parmir, Muslims for Progressive Values
Deacon Pamela Reed, Broad Street Presbyterian
Chaplain Cherylann Richards, North Church UCC
Rev. Susan Ritchie, North UU Congregation
Senior Pastor Steven Rodgers, First UMC, London
Divinity Student Mark Rupp, Fringe
Pastor Brian Saxe, Disciples Gathering
Rev. Debbie Saxe, Disciples Gathering
Rev. Louise Seipel, Broad Street UMC
Rev. Kate Shaner, First Community Church
Rev. Seth Stout, Fringe
Pastor Wendy Taylor, The Delaware Project
Senior Rabbi Mike Ungar, Tifereth Israel
Rev. Lucy Waechter Webb, Summit on 16th
Rev. Dr. Renee Waun, Ohio Valley UU
Pastor Donna Williams, Truth Fellowship Center
Rev. Dr. Jim Wilson, Lord of Life Lutheran
Rev. John R. Wooden, Stone Village
Rabbi Eric Woodward, Tifereth Israel
Rev. Evan Young, United Campus Ministry at OU
Rev. Laura J. Young, Broad Street UMC
Rev. Dale Ann Gray, First Congregation
Rev. Mary Kay Beall Carter, First Congregation

Southwest Ohio

Pastor Aaron Saari Presbyterian, First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs
Rev. Alan Dicken, Disciples of Christ Carthage Christian Church
Chair of Reconciling Committee Annie Burton, United Methodist Clifton United Methodist
Rev. Beth Holten, Methodist Bellbrook United Methodist
Rev. Bill Gupton, UU Heritage Unitarian Universalist Church
Rev. C.C. Coltrain, Center for Spiritual Living
Pastor David Meredith, UM Clifton United Methodist
Rev. Debra Meyers, Roman Catholic Inclusive Catholic Church and the Resurrection Community
Pastor Dwight McCormick, Presby. Northminster Presbyterian Church
Rev. Jason Alspaugh, Baptist First Baptist Church of Dayton
Rev. John Paddock, Episcopal Christ Episcopal Church
Pastor Joy Simpson MCC Eternal Joy & New Spirit
Draco Rey Julian Hill, Ordo Aeternus Vovin
Rev. Pam DeFusco, UCC Washington United Church of Christ
Pastor Lesley Jones, UCC Truth & Destiny
Rev. Paula Jackson, Episcopal Church of our Saviour
Rev. Dan Weyand-Geise, UCC First United Church of Christ
Rev. Rob Rhodes, Episcopal Christ Church Cathedral
Minister Sarah Austin Pagan
Rev. Sharon Dittmar, UU First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati
Rev. William Metcalf, American Marriage Ministry (Evangelical) N/A
Rev. Mike Castle UCC Harmony Creek
Archbishop Charles Smith Catholic Our Lady of Peace, Ohio Orthodox Catholic Church
Keri McDonnell, Episcopal Community of the Transfiguration
Rev. Gail Greenwell, Episcopal Christ Church Cathedral
Rev. Manoj Zacharia Episcopal Christ Church Cathedral
Archbishop Thomas Breidenthal, Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio Episcopal
Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp, Jewish Temple Sholom
June Wilkins, Gethsemane Lutheran, Columbus

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