SUMMT, NJ - Support for gay marriage has increased substantially in the United States in recent years with a many Americans now in favor of it and several states having legalized it. Recently, the United State Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases that will help to decide the legality of gay marriage on a nationwide basis. On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9, the Unitarian Church in Summit held a Marriage Equality event pronouncing their public support for gay marriage.

Clergy members, congregants, residents of the community and former members attended the event. The speakers included Rev. Kim Tomaszewski, assistant minister; Marty Rothfelder, chair of the committee that brought the marriage equality issue before the congregation; Kimi Nakata, a member of the church's board of trustees; Julie Crotty, a member; Carter Woodiel, a member of the church youth group; and Rev. Emilie Boggis, youth minister.

“This is a place where we ask them to be themselves and that is a place that I want to be in,” Boggis said. “I am proud to be part of this congregation.”

Sign Up for E-News

Boggis, who has been at the church for eight years and is a long time gay activist, told The Alternative Press that the church has been supportive of gay marriage for a long time, but recently the members voted to take a public stand on it. The members needed a certain amount of signatures to bring it before the congregation and then they voted in favor of it.

She said she and her colleagues were thrilled their congregants pledged their support to marriage equality. Boggis said they are required to hold an event anytime they take a public stand on an issue and promote it through publicity. She said the event was great and the committee plans to visit legislators in Trenton soon.

“May we allow everyone the right to marriage so that they can love who they love and bring more love into this world every day,” she said. “I say 'I do' to marriage.”

Tomaszewski, who grew up attending a Unitarian church, said joining the one in Summit last year was an easy choice. As the first gay minister of the congregation, she said she has been accepted and has enjoyed her time so far.

“It has been very well received,” she said.