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social sciences

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Unitarians / Universalists  
page: 1  2  

In 1986 the AIDS Advisory Panel was formed, and a non-discrimination clause for HIV-positive employees was added to the denomination's personnel manual. Three years later, the General Assembly passed resolutions opposing discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS, supporting clean-needle programs, and condemning the Helms Amendment to restrict entry of HIV-infected people into the United States.

In 1992, the Unitarian Universalist Board of Trustees passed a resolution opposing discrimination against homosexuals and atheists by the Boy Scouts of America. In 1998, the Boy Scouts demanded that the Unitarians cease awarding religious medals. After a bitter dispute, in 1999 the Boy Scouts agreed to permit the Unitarians to resume awarding the medals, while the Unitarians agreed to remove its objections to discrimination from the "Religion in Life" manual that accompanies the religious medal program, but insisted on including them in pamphlets mailed along with the manual.

Sponsor Message.

In 1993 the denomination endorsed the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Equal Rights and Liberation, and its board members participated in the march. That same year the General Assembly staged a public protest and candlelight vigil against North Carolina's "crime against nature" law.

In 1996 the Unitarian Universalist Association became the first mainline denomination in the United States formally to support legally recognized marriage between members of the same sex.

The denomination ordains openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and ministers and helps them find placement with congregations through its equal opportunity program, "Beyond Categorical Thinking." It has created curricular materials to help teach positive attitudes about homosexuality and bisexuality. It also provides Services of Union to lesbian and gay couples, and encourages members to promote positive and constructive approaches to populations affected by the AIDS epidemic.

In 1989 the Unitarian Universalist Association initiated a Welcoming Congregation program, which takes individual congregations through a process of examining attitudes and policies and changing them as needed to make them more accepting of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people.

To this end it produced The Welcoming Congregation Handbook in 1999. That year, Montana became the first state in which all Unitarian Universalist congregations had completed the process. The program is in effect in the Canadian Unitarian Council as well. By the year 2000, 25 percent of UUA churches in the United States had become Welcoming Congregations.

Ruth M. Pettis

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social sciences >> Overview:  Anglicanism / Episcopal Church

The Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church in the U. S. A. is a part, has dealt with issues of sexuality in complex ways, not all of them favorable to its glbtq membership.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay and Lesbian Churches and Synagogues

Spurred by the gay liberation movement of the late 1960s, a number of religious groups--including specifically gay-oriented churches and synagogues--have been formed to address the needs of gay and lesbian believers.

social sciences >> Overview:  Marches on Washington

Marches on Washington in support of the rights of glbtq people have been a significant part of the modern movement for equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Presbyterianism

Attitudes toward homosexuality within Presbyterianism vary greatly from denomination to denomination, though there has recently been movement toward acceptance and inclusion by the largest and most influential church bodies of Presbyterianism.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Overview:  Spirituality

Today's glbtq spirituality movements must be seen as part of a long history in which gender-special people were considered sacred to their tribe or family because of their obvious spiritual gifts.

social sciences >> Overview:  United Church of Christ / Congregationalism

The United Church of Christ has attempted to make its churches a "place of extravagant welcome" for glbtq people.

social sciences >> Addams, Jane

American reformer, social worker, peace activist, and Nobel Laureate Jane Addams is remembered as the founder of Hull House in Chicago, but her involvement in same-sex relationships has consistently been hidden or minimized by biographers.

social sciences >> Anthony, Susan B.

Although best known for her crusade for women's suffrage, Susan B. Anthony spoke out on a range of feminist issues.

social sciences >> Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America, formed to rehabilitate masculinity in the early twentieth century, has constantly seen itself as under attack or at least challenged by homosexuality or effeminacy, and its official policy excluding homosexuals has recently led to several legal and social challenges.


Alexander, Scott W. "Unitarian Universalism, A Welcoming Place for Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender People." Unitarian Universalist Association Pamphlets.

_____, et al., eds. The Welcoming Congregation Handbook: Resources for Affirming Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and/or Transgender People. Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association, 1999.

Buehrens, John A., ed. The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide. Boston: Skinner House Books, 1999.

Pescan, Barbara L. "Unitarian Universalism, A Religious Home for Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender People." Unitarian Universalist Association Pamphlets.

Robinson, David. The Unitarians and the Universalists. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985.

Unitarian Universalist Association: The Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Concerns.


    Citation Information
    Author: Pettis, Ruth M.  
    Entry Title: Unitarians / Universalists  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated December 16, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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