An alliance of mostly African-American pastors is joining the fray over a federal judge's March ruling declaring Michigan’s 2004 voter-backed ban against same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
The ruling by U.S. Disrict Judge Bernard Friedman has been stayed pending an appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the pastors said they’ll file an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief Wednesday supporting the challenge, The Detroit News reports.
More details will be shared a news conference Wednesday at First Baptist World Changers International Ministries, 22575 W. Eight Mile Road, Detroit.
The alliance of churches – the Baptist Pastors Fellowship, Westside Minister's Alliance, Concerned Pastors Fellowship Minister Alliance and other groups supporting Michigan’s Marriage Protection Act – has been a vocal critic of same-sex marriage in the months before and after Friedman’s historic ruling.
During Michigan’s gay marriage trial in February, pastors across Michigan spoke in favor of the Marriage Protection Act, an amendment they said a majority of black voters supported. They claimed the majority of pastors in Michigan stand behind both the Michigan state Constitution and Judeo Christian values holding that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Wednesday’s news conference is expected to include many of the same players.
Pastor Stacy Swimp of Flint-based Revive Alive Missional Ministry told The Detroit News the pastors “want to make a statement to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that the people of the state of Michigan, particularly African-American pastors and Christians, continue to stand by the Marriage Protection Act.”
Their opposition also stems from political arguments that the struggle of gay couples is the modern equivalent of the African-American led civil rights movement.
In a story posted on CharismaNews.com, Swimp said that “to state that marriage redefinition is in any way similar to the civil rights movement is intellectually empty, dishonest and manufactured,” Swimp said in a story posted on CharismaNews.com."When has anyone from the LGBT demographic ever been publicly lynched, specifically excluded from moving into neighborhoods, prohibited from sitting on a jury and denied the right to sue others because of their sexual preferences?" he said.
Pastor James Crowder of St. Galilee Baptist Church , the president of the Westside Minister's Alliance, said Friedman's ruling sanctioned "the staging of a false story."
"On stage are many actors who pretend that redefining traditional marriage is as valid as blacks fighting against the carnage of chattel slavery and the humiliation of Jim Crow,” he said. “Never have I been so insulted. The curtain must be pulled down on this play of disinformation."
The pastors are calling on Christian leaders from across the country and under the jurisdiction of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to join them in filing amicus briefs in support of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s appeal of Friedman’s ruling.
They especially want Christians from Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, other 6th Circuit jurisdictions with pending same-sex marriage appeals, to file friend-of-court briefs.