Unitarian Universalism and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) have a long-standing tradition of welcoming LGBT people. The first ordained minister of any religion in the U.S. or Canada to come out was the Rev. James Stoll in 1969. There have been UUA resolutions supporting people regardless of sexual orientation since 1970, and a popular program of becoming a "Welcoming Congregation" since 1989. UUA has officially supported UUA clergy performing Services of Union between same-sex couples since 1984, and has supported same-sex marriage since 1996. In 2004 UU Minister Rev. Debra Haffner of The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing published An Open Letter on Religious Leaders on Marriage Equality to affirm same-sex marriage from a multi-faith perspective.
The UUA maintains an Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns (which operates the Welcoming Congregation programme). There is also a fellowship of LGBT Unitarian Universalists and supporters called Interweave Continental.
The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) similarly operates a Gender and Sexual Diversity Monitoring Group and, like the UUA (of which it became autonomous only in 2002), has Welcoming Congregations. The CUC also performs same-sex marriages in Canada.
A Welcoming Congregation is a church or worshipping community in the Unitarian Universalist Association or Canadian Unitarian Council that has undergone an intensive educational program to help the congregation become more inclusive of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) people. Many Unitarian or Unitarian Universalist churches have adopted this.
To be an official welcoming congregation in the Unitarian Universalist Association, it is necessary for the following to be true about the church:
"Includes and addresses the needs of LGBT persons at every level of congregational life — in worship, in programs, in social occasions, and in rites of passage — welcomes not only their presence, but the gifts and particularities of their lives as well
"Assumes the presence of LGBT people and celebrates this diversity by having inclusive language and content in their worship
"Fully incorporates the experiences of LGBT persons throughout all programs, including religious education
"Includes an affirmation and nondiscrimination clause in by-laws and other official documents affecting all dimensions of congregational life, including membership, hiring practices, and the calling of religious professionals
"Engages in outreach into the LGBT community in its advertising and by actively supporting LGBT affirmative groups
"Offers congregational and ministerial support for union and memorial services for LGBT persons, and for celebrations of families of all types
"Celebrates the lives of all people and welcomes same-sex couples, recognizing their committed relationships, and equally affirms displays of caring and affections without regard to sexual orientation
"Seeks to nurture ongoing dialogue between bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and heterosexual persons and to create deeper trust and sharing
"Encourages the presence of a chapter of Interweave
"Affirms and celebrates LGBT issues and history during the church year
"Attends to legislative developments and works to promote justice, freedom, and equality in the larger society
"Speaks out when the rights of bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people are at stake
"Celebrates the lives of all people and their ways of expressing their love for each other"
- "My Greatly Human Hometown Minister--James Lewis Stoll, 1936-1994", sermon by Leland Bond-Upson, delivered January 9 2005
- "Unitarians Endorse Homosexual Marriages", UPI, New York Times, 29 June 1984, retrieved on 21 June 2007.
- UUA: Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Community
- Religious Leaders Must Support Justice for All | Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org
- Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns
- Interweave Continental
- Gender and Sexual Diversity Issues
- Welcoming Congregation
- Our Whole Lives