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Statement Released By Utah Religious Leaders Opposing Amendment Three

Statement Released By Utah Religious Leaders Opposing Amendment Three

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A day after the state's predominant church announced its support of traditional marriages, clergy from several other religions on Wednesday publicly opposed a state constitutional amendment seeking to keep legal marriages between a man and a woman only.

Leaders from Episcopalian, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches issued a statement Wednesday saying Amendment 3 would affect more than the gay and lesbian couples it targets.

"Some clergy told me they didn't agree with everything in the statement, but the important thing we wanted to raise to the voters is that human beings will be affected by this," said the Rev. Dan Webster of All Saints Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City.

The statement said Amendment 3 is unnecessary because state law already defines marriage as a contract between a man and a woman. And the way the proposed law is phrased, it would also hurt unmarried couples and senior citizens, according to the statement.

Webster said it was not a reaction to a statement Tuesday from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which said that only men and woman should be married, and "any other sexual relations, including between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of family."

LDS officials would not elaborate on the statement, nor associate it directly with Amendment 3.

But the statement from the other denominations Wednesday was titled "Utah Religious Leaders Oppose Amendment 3."

"We've been working on this for at least two and a half weeks to get a group of various religious leaders to sign on," Webster said. "It's very important for the religious community to speak up when there are proposed laws that will affect our members."

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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