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Jim Wallis Now Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Sojourners founder: 'I think we have to talk about, now, how to include same-sex couples in that deeper understanding of marriage.'

Jim Wallis, founder and CEO of Sojourners, has reversed course from the traditional-marriage position he defended to CT in 2008, joining a recent string of Christian public figures voicing support for same-sex marriage.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Wallis said he now supports same-sex marriage as part of the ongoing conversation about how to "commit liberals and conservatives to re-covenanting marriage, reestablishing, renewing marriage."

"I think we have to talk about, now, how to include same-sex couples in that deeper understanding of marriage," Wallis said. "I want a deeper commitment to marriage that is more and more inclusive, and that's where I think the country is going."

That's a recent shift from 2008, when Wallis told CT he didn't believe in same-sex marriage. "I don't think the sacrament of marriage should be changed," he previously told CT. "Some people say that Jesus didn't talk about homosexuality, and that's technically true. But marriage is all through the Bible, and it's not gender-neutral."

In that interview, Wallis also disputed the notion that he was a liberal. Though he has been a long-time critic of the Religious Right, Wallis told CT, "There is a Religious Left in this country, and I'm not a part of it."

However, CT noted in a 2005 interview that Wallis is a registered Democrat.

Other notable public figures–both liberal and conservative–who have recently announced their support for same-sex marriage include Rob Bell, former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, and Rob Portman, an influential GOP senator.

Sojourners came close to endorsing same-sex marriage last year after President Barack Obama voiced his own support for it. A May 2012 press release stated, "Sojourners supports equal protection under the law and full legal rights for all people regardless of sexual orientation."

Wallis elaborated on his current personal views, telling Religion News Service columnist Jonathan Merritt:

I think equal protection under the law is something that does support the idea of a civil, civic decision that provides same sex couples the same benefits and rights under the civil law as married couples have. That's the direction we're going, but what the church says about sacramental marriage is a larger, deeper question that has to be resolved over time. They need freedom to look at the scriptures and determine what is possible. People can have different views theologically and still support equal protection, which is inclusive more and more of marriage equality.

CT offers a special section on Jim Wallis. CT first reported on Wallis' work in Washington, D.C., in 1999.

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