Ahead of Lesbian Adoption Trial, Michigan Pastors Speak Out Against Homosexual Marriage and Call for State’s Ban to Stand

Jubilee City Church founder Ellis L. Smith speaks at a rally with dozens of pastors Monday in support of Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. Credit Michigan Public Radio Network
Jubilee City Church founder Ellis L. Smith speaks at a rally with dozens of pastors Monday in support of Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Dozens gathered on the eve of a lesbian adoption trial that also challenges the state’s marriage law.

On the eve of Tuesday’s start of a federal court trial involving a lesbian couple wanting to adopt children, about 50 pastors gathered in a Baptist church Monday to speak out against gay marriage, saying it will undermine family and society.

Speaking at First Baptist World Changers Church in Detroit, the pastors said they represented a group of about 1,000 churches across the state that support the Michigan marriage amendment in 2004 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. They’re concerned the trial set to start this week would undermine the 2004 law.

The trial set to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit involves a lawsuit filed by two nurses who argue Michigan’s gay marriage and adoption bans violate their right to get married and adopt each other’s children. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse sued in January 2012, initially raising only the adoption issue, but then challenging Michigan’s voter-approved gay marriage prohibition as well.

The trial “is an unjust threat to voting rights,” said minister Stacy Swimp of Revive Alive ministry in Flint, Mich. “We are standing here united … not ashamed to stand up for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the institution of marriage. God defined marriage and 2.5 million people went to the polls (in 2004) to reaffirm what God has said.”

The pastors said they are part of a silent majority who support traditional marriage, but whose voices are being drowned out by those supportive of same-sex marriage.

“We’re trying to send a message to our elected officials that the people spoke in 2004,” said Pastor Roland Caldwell Sr. of Burnette Inspirational Chruch in Detroit.

Supporters of gay marriage point out that views have changed over the past 10 years. A majority of Michiganders now back gay marriage, according to a survey released last week by the LGBT group Equality Michigan.

But the pastors said Monday that the laws of God are eternal and can’t change because of the shifting culture.

Quoting from Martin Luther King Jr. and the Bible, the pastors said that gay marriage violates the teachings of Christianity. Swimp quoted from King’s famous letter ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ to say that “we have a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” that don’t conform the law of God. The majority of pastors at the press conference were African-American.

“It’s going to tear the foundation of the family asunder,” Pastor Caldwell said of gay marriage. “It’s going to have a devastating effect.”

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SOURCE: USA Today
Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press