North Carolina, the last state in the South without a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, can play a key role in the national debate over the topic, a prominent Southern Baptist leader told an audience in Wake Forest on Wednesday.
Richard Land, president of the convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is often the point man on policy issues for the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, and his presence in North Carolina signals how closely the May 8 referendum vote here is being watched around the country.
“Make no mistake, those (Supreme Court) justices are watching what the people of North Carolina say about this issue,” Land told an audience at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Land said he believes the U.S. Supreme Court would be hesitant to allow couples of the same gender to marry if other states join the 29 already with amendments defining marriage as between a man and a woman. That could change if states like North Carolina reject such amendments, he said.
“If we lose, they will exercise their judicial imperialism,” he said. “That’s what’s at stake.”
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