The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa has presented legislators with a letter co-signed by 167 Iowa clergy. The letter urges Iowa senators and representatives to support “marriage equality” and “oppose any resolution or attempt to diminish the marriage rights” of gay couples. Connie Ryan Terrell is executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa.

“That letter is going to the legislators today so that they hear a balance from people of faith, and particularly from clergy,” Terrell says. “What legislators have told me in the past when we have gone to them is that they don’t hear from clergy, often, from our side and so it’s important for them to hear that there’s a different voice and that there are clergy who are supportive of marriage equality.”

The Bishop of Episcopal Churches in Iowa signed the letter, as did ministers who serve on several college campuses, including Wartburg in Waverly and Luther College in Decorah. Unitarian ministers, Protestant pastors and rabbis signed the letter, too. Their letter says the clergymen and women “oppose the use of sacred texts and religious traditions to deny equal protection…for gay and lesbian couples.”

Terrell says the Supreme Court ruling which legalized gay marriage in Iowa last April allows the “fundamental right of marriage” to be granted fairly. “I think it’s an important message for the legislators to see that clergy in our state thing this is a good thing and want this to be the law of the land,” Terrell says.

Bryan English is a spokesman for the Iowa Family Policy Center, a group leading the opposition to gay marriage. English says the Bible provides insight into right and wrong. “Having read the Bible from cover to cover, on several occasions, I have found absolutely no justification for the position of the Interfaith Alliance,” English says.