DETROIT, 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.
“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.”