While some opponents of marriage equality have long claimed that legal same-sex marriage will inevitably lead to bestiality, one pastor in Jackson, Miss., offered a literal interpretation of the slippery slope argument outside the federal courthouse this week.
The Rev. Edward James of Bertha Chapel Missionary Baptist Church stood outside the federal courthouse on Friday carrying antigay signs and standing beside his horse, Charlotte, who was dressed in a makeshift wedding gown, reports Jackson TV station WJTV.
“The horse is to show the ridiculous idea of two men getting married,” James told the local news network. “I’m a Mississippian and I’m praying and hoping that we will remain a state that only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman.”
Last month, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves struck down Mississippi’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, falling in line with more than 50 other state and federal courts that have found such laws to be unconstitutional. Judge Reeves placed a hold on his ruling as the state appeals the decision, and the case is now scheduled to come before a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in January.
James said he had received “100 percent support” from passers-by, earning “thumbs up, tooting on the horns,” and even a couple who came out to “give me a hug and hug the horse.”
In addition to his gussied-up mare and pastoral stole, James carried a chest-high sign that read “The next unnatural law: Do you take this horse to be your unnatural wedded spouse to have and to hold? This might be even be possible if the band [sic] on same sex marriage is lifted. ‘Where do we draw the line’?” A second, smaller poster proclaimed “Marriage is one man and one woman anything else is a perversion.”
“I just want to send a message, saying, you know, how far are we going to go with this thing?” James told WJTV.
Local LGBT advocates did their best to laugh off the protest as over-the-top. “I thought it was laughable and I believe he was going for a ridiculous protest and he certainly got one,” LGBT activist Eddie Outlaw told the local news station. “The argument is not about sin or religious belief or what the church says about marriage equality. It is strictly about benefits, rights, protection extended by the government and not by the church.”
Watch WJTV’s report on the pastor’s protest below.