Last week, a coalition of black pastors said that it's incorrect and offensive to compare redefining marriage to the civil rights movement. The group held a press conference to announce an amicus brief being filed in favor of Michigan's marriage amendment.
The Thomas More Law Center filed the amicus on behalf of more than 100 black pastors from Detroit, Michigan, and Ohio defending Michigan's marriage amendment, which is headed to the U.S. 6th Court of Appeals after a judge recently declared it unconstitutional. The Michigan voter-supported Marriage Protection Act preserves marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Erin Mersino, the main drafter of the brief, said:
“It has been an honor working with the coalition of pastors closely to ensure that their unique voice is heard. The coalition was upset with the notion that the voice of 2.7 million Michigan voters could be silenced by the opinion of one federal court judge. The court drew upon legal precedent which rightfully allowed interracial couples to marry, inherently raising similarities between racial equality and same-sex marriage. The coalition has made clear that they believe this comparison is offensive. ”
The brief criticized the notion that the fight to redefine marriage is similar to the Civil Rights Movement, noting:
“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 disgraces and unspeakable privations in our nation’s history pertaining to the civil rights of Black Americans are unmatched. No other class of individuals, including individuals who are same-sex attracted, have ever been enslaved, or lawfully viewed not as human, but as property. Same-sex attracted individuals have never lawfully been forced to attend different schools, walk on separate public sidewalks, sit at the back of the bus, drink out of separate drinking fountains, denied their right to assemble, or denied their voting rights. Id. The legal history of these disparate classifications, i.e., immutable racial discrimination and same-sex attraction, is incongruent.”
“There is no surer way to destroy an institution like marriage than to destroy its meaning. If 'marriage' means whatever one judge wants it to mean, it means nothing. If it has no fixed meaning, it is merely a vessel for a judge’s will. It is used as a subterfuge for judicial legislation.”
The pastors expressed their offense at the comparison of black civil rights struggles to marriage redefinition.
“To state that marriage redefinition is in any way similar to the civil rights movement is intellectually empty, dishonest and manufactured,” said Minister Stacy Swimp, founder of Revive Alive Missional Ministry.
“Judge Friedman is sanctioning the staging of a false story,” said Pastpr James Crowder, of St. Galilee Baptist church and president of the Westside Minister's Alliance, Detroit, Michigan. “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. Never have I been so insulted. The curtain must be pulled down on this play of disinformation.”
"We want to make a statement to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that the people of the state of Michigan, particularly Black Pastors and Christians, continue to stand by the Marriage Protection Act," Swimp said.
The full amicus brief can be viewed here.