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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ALLIANCE OF BAPTISTS JOINS UCC IN HISTORIC RELIGIOUS LIBERTY CASE IN N.C.

        June 2, 2014

        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

        ALLIANCE OF BAPTISTS JOINS UCC IN HISTORIC RELIGIOUS LIBERTY CASE IN NORTH CAROLINA

        WASHINGTON —The Board of Directors of the Alliance of Baptists has decided to become a party to the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed against the state of North Carolina by the2013alliancelogo.pngUnited Church of Christ. The case challenges the constitutionality of marriage laws in North Carolina – including Amendment One – that ban marriage between same-sex couples and make it illegal for clergy to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples within their congregations.

        The Alliance of Baptists’ covenant commits to “the principle of a free church in a free state and the opposition to any effort either by church or state to use the other for its own purposes.”

        “By the joining the lawsuit in North Carolina, we are living deeply into our Christian values and offering a clear, Baptist voice for justice and religious liberty,” Alliance President Mike Castle said.

        In 2004, the Alliance adopted a statement supporting “the rights of all citizens to full marriage equality” and rejecting any “proposed amendments to the constitution of the United States and state constitutions that would enshrine discrimination against sexual minorities and define marriage in such a way as to deny same-sex couples a legal framework in which to provide for one another and those entrusted to their care."

        Castle added, “It is also important that we stand with the United Church of Christ, our ecumenical partner in mission and ministry, in this bold action.”

        A press conference will be held Thursday, June 5 at 2 p.m. at Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, N.C. Speakers for the press conference are as follows (subject to change):

          ·Castle and April Baker, Alliance vice president;

          ·Gary West, pastor at Grace Baptist Church, Statesville, N.C.;

          ·Richard Groves, Baptist minister, Winston-Salem, N.C.;

          ·Amy Jacks Dean and Russ Dean, co-pastors at Park Road Baptist, Charlotte, N.C.;

          ·Maria Palmer, Councilwoman for Town of Chapel Hill and Baptist minister, Chapel Hill, N.C.;

          ·Stephen T. Smith, legal counsel, Raleigh, N.C.;

          Chris Copeland, Director of Leadership Development, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Winston-Salem, N.C.;

          ·J. Bennett Guess, National Officer and Executive Minister for the United Church of Christ, Cleveland, Ohio

        About the Alliance of Baptists

        The Alliance of Baptists began in 1987 as a prophetic voice in Baptist life. Today, we are a faith community comprised of male and female laity and clergy, people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, theological beliefs, and ministry practices. We are Christians knit together by love for one another and God, combining progressive inquiry, contemplative prayer and prophetic action to bring about justice and healing in a changing world.

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        Contact

        Leah Grundset Davis, communications specialist, leah@allianceofbaptists.org

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