In a statement that underscores a split in the local religious community, a coalition of ministers and rabbis Monday declared its opposition to Proposition 22, saying the anti-gay marriage initiative is mean-spirited, discriminatory and could undercut the rights of homosexuals.
The proposition on the March 7 ballot “could result in the kind of legal limitation that we would never accept in heterosexual marriages,” the clerics said in an open letter. "[Proposition 22] would become the precedent to withhold the kind of societal protections that are needed by all caring, committed couples.”
Rabbi Alan Greenbaum of Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, the letter’s author, said it represents the views of six Christian ministers, two rabbis and a college religion professor.
But he said the local divisions exposed in the campaign to recognize marriages only between men and women are a reflection of a debate raging in churches throughout California.
In Ventura County, the Proposition 22 campaign is visible on front lawns and street corners where supporters have planted hundreds of bright blue signs proclaiming: “Protect Marriage, Yes on Prop. 22.” Many of those signs have been distributed by local churches to their members.
“I would say that most of the religious community in Ventura County is supportive of Prop. 22,” said the Rev. Joe Woodruff, pastor of the 4,000-member Sonrise Christian Fellowship in Simi Valley, a conservative, evangelical church.