Black pastors representing thousands of congregants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are calling for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. The pastors, who formed the Not on My Watch Coalition six weeks ago, kicked off efforts Saturday with a rally at Arlington city hall that drew 1,000 supporters. The group included representatives from Promise Keepers, an international men's ministry.
As gay and lesbian couples celebrate in Massachusetts, the first state to make same-sex marriages legal, the coalition denounces parallels drawn between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement. Members say legalizing same-sex marriages will have irreparable repercussions on the country. "We've taken the blow of cohabitation. We've taken the blow of divorce. We've taken the blow of absentee fathers," said the Reverend Bryan Carter, pastor of Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas. "Homosexual marriage could be the knockout blow."
The group asked attendees to sign a petition asking lawmakers for a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. "The church cannot allow the gay rights movement to hitch itself to the civil rights movement," said the Reverend William Dwight McKissic, one of the coalition's founders. "It is insulting, offensive, and racist. It is to compare my skin with their sin."
Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, based in Austin, said Saturday that his organization was unaware of the rally but is familiar with such groups. "They're rallying to constrict rights and weave discrimination into the very fabric of our Constitution," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "And really that's all they can do--hold rallies like that. Fair-minded and open-minded people have a hard time disagreeing with what gays and lesbians are after: fairness and equality under the law."