Law
8:17 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Religious groups say 'The fight is on' over same-sex marriage

Rev. Stacy Swimp leads defenders of traditional marriage First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A coalition of about 200 mostly Michigan-based black pastors says “the fight is on” when it comes to same-sex marriage.

A federal judge overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage earlier this year. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has appealed that ruling, and it’s now headed to the US 6th Circuit court of appeals.

The pastors condemned the ruling in an event at First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit Wednesday.

The group also announced they had hired the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center to file an amicus brief with the 6th Circuit.

That brief will “represent and us make sure our voices are heard,” said Flint-based minister Stacy Swimp, one of the group’s leaders.

Swimp called moves toward legalizing gay marriage an “attempt to destroy the very basis for which our society exists--marriage and family.” He said the group also takes particular offense to those who frame the gay rights movement as an extension of the historic black civil rights struggle.

“That is intellectually empty, dishonest, and completely manufactured,” Swimp said.

“When has anyone from the LGBT demographic ever been publicly lynched? Specifically excluded from moving into certain neighborhoods through redlining? Prohibited from sitting on a jury, or denied the right to sue others because of their sexual preference?”

Richard Thompson, head of the Thomas More Law Center, said expanding marriage beyond the “traditional” definition would destroy it.

“To take away its meaning is to destroy its meaning,” Thompson said. “The lower court cites no authority to destroy our fundamental right to marriage, by defining it out of existence.”

Thompson said much of the legal reasoning underpinning recent court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage have compared it to historical bans on interracial marriage, which the US Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 1967. But Thompson said those comparisons are legally flawed.

The Michigan Catholic Conference and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also filed briefs on behalf of themselves and other conservative Christian groups with the 6th Circuit court.