US: Clergy plan to announce support for equal marriage this week

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A group of pastors from across the US are to rally this week in Maryland, in support for equal marriage rights.

The group plan to do so with a view to dispelling the idea that all black pastors are against equal marriage rights for LGBT people.

Pastors and other clergy of the Mt Ennon Baptist Church, Clinton, led by Reverend Delman Coates, will gather on Friday in a public display of support at the National Press Club, the Washington Examiner reported. Reverend Coats said:

“The impression that all African-American pastors are fundamentally opposed to the idea of marriage equality is wrong,”

They are also hoping to remove any confusion, and to make clear that any church choosing not to officiate same-sex marriages, will be unaffected by the potential change in law.

Some pastors have campaigned against equal marriage, which will be voted on in a referendum in Maryland in November.

Harry R Jackson Jr, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, wrote on his church’s website on Saturday:

“Though homosexual marriage advocates constantly slander the rest of us as irrational, hateful bigots, most people’s objections are quite sensible,”

“They do not want schools teaching their children ideas about homosexuality that will disrespect their religious convictions. They are also concerned that if we ‘loosen’ the definition of marriage once, we may do it again. Almost no one is comfortable with legalised polygamy, for example, but if marriage no longer means one man and one woman, what’s to say it won’t mean three or four people?”

A poll released by marriage equality advocates in Maryland in July suggested voters may approve equal marriage at the vote on November 6, allowing them to come into effect in 2013. 

If Marylanders vote in favour of equal marriage, they will be the first state to do so in a referendum. Maine, Minnesota and Washington states will also be voting on the same issue.

The struggle over equal marriage is not limited to politics; earlier this month, The Baltimore Ravens rejected a call from Delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, to reprimand player, Brendon Ayanbadejo, who recorded a video for a gay rights advocacy group last year.