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Obama's Former Church Supports Gay Marriage: Trinity Pastor Speaks Out

By Darryl Holliday | February 26, 2013 1:28pm | Updated on February 26, 2013 2:43pm

CHICAGO — While the Illinois House readies itself for a vote on legalizing gay marriage in Illinois, a notable member of President Barack Obama's former Chicago church has voiced his support for marriage equality.

In a letter addressed to state legislators, the Rev. Otis Moss III of Trinity United Church of Christ, argues in favor of "same-gender loving" couples on the grounds of love and civil rights.

On Tuesday, Moss was on his way to Springfield to speak before the House Executive Committee in support of SB 10, the state Senate's Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.

"We have learned to be more than a one-issue community and to seek the beloved community where we may not all agree, but we all recognize the fingerprint of the Divine upon all of humanity," Moss writes in his Feb. 18 letter.

"We understand the State’s responsibility to ensure that all families of the State of Illinois are treated equally under the law," the letter states.

While the Illinois Senate recently passed a bill moving the state ever-closer to legalizing gay marriage, a yea vote from the House is required to move the bill forward.

Moss, in a video posted in May, spoke out on marriage equality in a sermon at Trinity United, laying out a defense of President Obama in regard to gay rights as well as his own thoughts on the issue.

"Gay people have never been the enemy, and when we use rhetoric to suggest they are the source of all our problems, we lie on God and cause tears to fall from the eyes of Christ," he said.

"We must stay in dialogue and not allow our personal, emotional prejudices or doctrine to prevent us from clearly seeing the possibilities of the beloved community."

Moss, who was named No. 29 on Chicago magazine's list of "100 most powerful Chicagoans" in 2012 and whose congregation includes more than 8,500 people, will appear before the House at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

His support of the gay marriage act in Illinois follows other black leaders in the state who also have come out publicly in favor of the bill.

While Obama was running for office, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who is now pastor emeritus at Trinity, was scrutinized for his inflammatory sermons. Obama later distanced himself from the controversial pastor.