Black Pastors: Comparing Homosexuality to Civil Rights Fight is ‘Distortion’ of History

RallyDETROIT, Mich. — A coalition of black pastors filed an amicus brief in court on Wednesday asking that it overturn a lower court’s decision that declared Michigan’s marriage amendment unconstitutional.

The Thomas More Law Center filed the brief on behalf of 110 African American pastors throughout Michigan and Ohio, who represent millions of Christians and other religious groups throughout the state.

As previously reported, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, nominated to the bench by then-president Ronald Reagan, struck down Michigan’s same-sex ‘marriage’ ban this past March, declaring that the state’s constitutional amendment violates the federal constitution.

“Many Michigan residents have religious convictions whose principles govern the conduct of their daily lives and inform their own viewpoints about marriage,” he wrote. “Nonetheless, these views cannot strip other citizens of the guarantees of equal protection under the law.”

Voters in Michigan had passed a marriage amendment in 2004 that made it unlawful to conduct or recognize same-sex “marriages” in the state. It was passed with 59 percent of the vote, or nearly 2.7 million ballots cast in the favor of the measure.

“To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose,” the amendment read.

As Friedman’s ruling was appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the coalition of black pastors was formed to speak out in support of the state’s marriage amendment and unite in an effort to overturn Friedman’s ruling. The brief filed with the court on Wednesday condemned the comparison of homosexual behavior to black civil rights.

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“The fact that American media or other factions erroneously characterize the traditional meaning of ‘marriage’ as being on par with the civil rights deprivations of Black Americans does not make it so,” it stated. “Comparing the dilemmas of same-sex couples to the centuries of discrimination faced by Black Americans is a distortion of our country’s cultural and legal history.”

The pastors said that one’s racial background is a completely different issue from a person’s sexual activities.

“A person’s sexuality and sexual preferences, however, are not their state of being, or even an immutable aspect of who they are, as race is,” they asserted. “The truth of the matter is that it is merely activity in which they engage. The state has no responsibility to promote any person’s sexual proclivities, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise.”

The coalition argued that states have a right to refuse to recognize relationships—including those between consenting adults—that are immoral.

“All states routinely require certain qualifications to obtain a marriage license and disallow certain individuals who do not meet those qualifications,” the pastors said. “States discriminate against first cousins, for example, by not allowing them to marry. States discriminate against bigamists, polygamists, and polyamorists in the licensing of marriage, and it is within the states’ right to do so.”

The pastors also held a rally on Wednesday at First Baptist World Changers International Church in Detroit to express their solidarity over the matter.

“We say to the judge: we believe in marriage as it has been and as it should be,” Pastor Lawrence Glass, president of the Council of Baptist Pastors, declared, according to USA Today.

“We love everybody, but we don’t love [every kind of] lifestyle,” Pastor Rex Evans of Free Will Baptist Church in Ypsilanti, Michigan said. “[There’s a] small group of people trying to destroy the foundation [of America]. It’s time to take our nation back.”

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  • True, the civil rights struggle by Gay Americans is not identical to that of Blacks. Nor is the civil rights struggle by women, or Jews, or any other persecuted minority group. But discrimination is discrimination, whether it is motivated by race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. The fact remains that law-abiding, taxpaying Americans of ANY demographic group should be treated equally and fairly.

  • Doug Sloan

    The Supreme Court has ruled that sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic.

    Since 1888, the Supreme Court has affirmed 15 times that marriage is a civil right. In the 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the laws of 16 states that made interracial marriages illegal. As part of that ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that the powers of a state to regulate marriage are not unlimited. Specifically, the marriage laws of a state have to comply with the 14th Amendment. This means the marriage laws of a state have to apply equally and make available the same benefits of those marriage laws to every citizen of that state.

    At the end of its ruling in Loving v. Virginia, the Court wrote:

    Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

    A group of citizens can either be excluded from lawful benefits or made the focus of criminal sanctions if it furthers a legitimate and rational state interest. In Loving v. Virginia, it was affirmed that such a group could not be defined by race. Since then, the Supreme Court has determined that such a group cannot be defined by sexual orientation. The affirmation of this by the Supreme Court began with the case Romer v. Evans in 1996 and was fully affirmed in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 and again in United States v. Windsor in 2013.

    • Richard Williams

      A court can rule all it wants that sexual orientation is immutable, however that has nothing to do with what is real. Sexual orientation is in fact changeable. I know someone who was homosexual and is now in a heterosexual relationship. Not only that, Nicholas Cummings, a former president of the APA has said that he has helped people change their orientation.

      • Doug Sloan

        It has everything to do with what is real. It is published scientifically credible research. It is credible because it has been through a rigorous peer-review process that examines the data, the data gathering methods, and the mathematics.

        To provide a persuasive counterpoint, provide evidence that has been published and peer-reviewed.

        • cmc

          I’m always a little amused when people who claim to be champions of science make comments so forgetful of the history of science. How many times has “irrefutable scientific evidence” been disproven? Above all others, scientists should be a little humble if they would only reflect on the ridiculous disproven theories of the past! In light of history, phrases like “peer reviewed” and “indisputable” sound very hollow indeed. Unfortunately, history is now repeating itself here and there as so called scientists are involved in that ugly and ignorant practice of censorship. If you don’t agree with the “facts”, they say, then just don’t speak and by the way, you’re an intolerant bigot! What a shame.

  • America in regards to marriage has gone off the deep end, they have followed their own sinful lust of the flesh and gone against God’s commandants. Man shall not lay with man as woman with man. God forbids same sex marriage, and and we must obey God rather than man and or some rule that goes against God’s commandants.

  • James ryann

    Whatever laws man have, the highest law still is God’s law. If man insists on what he likes, remember Sodom and Gomorrah.

    • Doug Sloan

      For some, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a story of aggressive rampaging gay men with very poor social skills behaving badly. The Bible itself says otherwise in the book of Ezekiel.

      This was the guilt of your sister Sodom:
      she and her daughters had
      excess of food, and
      prosperous ease,
      but did not aid the poor and needy.
      — NRSV Ezekiel 16:49

      The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by a natural disaster that was not understood at the time the event occurred. The story follows a common ancient plot about the disaster being an expression of the wrath of the gods or, in this case, the wrath of a god. It also expresses the middle-eastern ethos of hospitality – that being generously hospitable to and completely protective of your guests is the mark of a good host. So when Lot, to protect his guests, offers his daughters to the unruly crowd, it tells us three things: 1) this is not an angry mob of gay men, 2) it is a desperate situation, and 3) in keeping with his cultural expectation of proper hospitality, Lot is willing to sacrifice his family to protect his guests. It is not so much an example of Lot being abusively patriarchal as it is Lot doing what is expected of him as a good host.