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in the news/segment 3
Volume 15/Issue 12

Internationally Recognized Gay Cleric
Denounces Proposed Alabama Law

A proposed law before the Alabama state legislature has kindled the ire of an internationally known gay religious leader.

The Rev. Troy D. Perry, founder and moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), the largest religious organization with a primary ministry to the gay and lesbian community, recently condemned the "unconstitutional religious bigotry" of S.B. 1, a bill that has come before the Alabama State Senate in each of the last two sessions. The bill provides a $ 1,000 fine for any clergy person who officiates at a wedding for a same-sex couple.

"Let me be very clear," said the Rev. Mr. Perry. "The day any such bill passes the Alabama legislature, I will be on a plane for Montgomery where I will invite all of our UFMCC pastors, as well as enlightened clergy from any other faith community, to join me on the steps of the Alabama Capitol for the largest mass wedding for the gay community ever seen in Alabama." Perry spent part of his childhood in Alabama and attended junior high and high school in Mobile. "A formative part of my life was spent in Alabama," he noted. In 1968, Perry began Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles with 12 worshipers. Today, UFMCC has grown to more than 42,000 members in 300 congregations in 19 countries.

The denomination currently has congregations in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. "The members of UFMCC stand in solidarity with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities of Alabama," said an impassioned Perry. "I find myself amazed that an elected official who is sworn to uphold the Constitution would endorse and introduce legislation that so obviously violates the constitutional separation of church and state, and which curtails the free exercise of religion." The bill is sponsored by Senator Roger Bedford.

"Holy Union and Holy Marriage are rites and sacraments of all LFMCC congregations," said Perry. "I will serve time in jail before I will allow the government to dictate our religious practices.

"Let me make one other thing clear: I will never pay so much as one penny in fines to any government as penalty for the our right to perform same-sex marriages. A frequent international speaker at churches, universities, and conference Perry has appeared on 60 Minutes, Phil Donahue, Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, and The Mike Douglas Show.

LFMCC's story has appeared in virtually every international news magazine. Perry is the recipient of awards from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Gay Press Association. The proposed legislation has passed an Alabama House subcommittee as well as the full House, and has been forwarded to the State Senate. "I am prayerful that the current legislative recess will allow reason to prevail and that this bill will fail. We are watching. If it comes back up for action, or comes back in another form, we will be ready to respond.

"The struggle of same-sex marriage recognition is a matter of simple justice," Perry said. "We do not seek special rights, only equal rights. We believe that the rights of marriage should be open to all citizens as an expression of love, fidelity and commitment."

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