Texas faith leaders gather at state capitol in support of marriage equality

Rev. Michael Diaz, center, from Metropolitan Church in Houston, and other faith leaders and congregation members of various churches from around the state rally on the step of the Texas Capitol steps to call for more equality for same-sex couples, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, in Austin, Texas. Eric Gay, AP

Rev. Michael Diaz, center, from Metropolitan Church in Houston, and other faith leaders and congregation members of various churches from around the state rally on the step of the Texas Capitol steps to call for more equality for same-sex couples, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, in Austin, Texas.Eric Gay, AP

Rev. Michael Diaz, center, from Metropolitan Church in Houston, and other faith leaders and congregation members of various churches from around the state rally on the step of the Texas Capitol steps to call for more equality for same-sex couples, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, in Austin, Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas– Faith leaders rallied for marriage equality Tuesday at the Texas Capitol, seeking to convince lawmakers that expanding rights to LGBT Texans won’t compromise their religious beliefs.

“We demand equality!” chanted attendees, many of whom wore colorful liturgical vestments and held signs stating they were Methodist, Jewish, Unitarian, Baptist and Presbyterian.

About 150 people traveled to the Capitol for the rally, sponsored by the advocacy group the Texas Freedom Network.

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Minister Leslie Jackson of the Houston United Church of Christ said that equality is “God in action,” adding that “LGBT equality is not a distant cousin to faith, it is its progeny.”

Rev. Eric Folkerth, from Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, praised his city’s non-discrimination ordinance, adding that equality at work is also important. The Dallas statute that protects LGBT people from discrimination in employment and housing has been in place since 2002; a similar ban in Houston is caught up in a legal battle.

“Less government involvement in our lives leaves us free to love who we love,” said Claire Bow, a transgender woman from Austin. “The real trick is getting legislators to see the effects of the things they put into law.”

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