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Blacks and same-sex marriage

Maya Rhodan | 4/6/2013, 8:13 a.m.
(NNPA) Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, and Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the ...
Pastor Amos Brown, left, supports same-sex marriage. Pastor Anthony Evans opposes same-sex marriage. Photo courtesy of NNPA

— (NNPA) Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, and Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative in Washington, D.C., are brothers of the cloth. Though they share a love for Christ and the Bible, they do not share the same views on same-sex marriage, an issue now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I’m not going to ever believe that gay marriage is right,” Evans says. “It contradicts our tradition within the Black church. We take the Bible very literally when it comes to marriage.”

Brown, on the other hand, says: “You can’t use the Bible to support your position on this ‒ Jesus didn’t say one word about gays. The Bible also says if your child disobeys you, you should kill them and that women who are menstruating should not be allowed in church. These are low-case words and actions of men, they have nothing to do with the high-case word of God and Jesus in terms of love and beauty.”

Like Brown and Evans, the Black community is sharply divided on same-sex marriage.

Religious beliefs are often at the forefront of opposition to same-sex marriage. Among African Americans

in particular, it’s the common denominator among those who are more firmly against the issue.

Among Blacks who attend church on a regular basis, 60 percent are opposed to same-sex marriage. For those who attend less than weekly only about 43 percent are against, and 42 percent have taken a pro stance.

Kevin Reid, a 55-year-old Chicagoan and regular churchgoer, considers himself among those opposed.

“I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” he says.

Brittany Galloway, a Washington, D.C., resident, is a 25-year-old non-denominational Christian who attends church on a semi-regular basis. She says the issue of same-sex marriage pits her religious beliefs against societal trends.

“My interpretation of the Bible says being homosexual is wrong, but it’s constantly shown as a societal norm,” Galloway explains. “The Bible also says fornication is wrong. The fact that I live with my boyfriend right now is wrong.”

Galloway attributes her stance on same-sex marriage to her early school life; she attended Christian school in Maryland from first to 12th grade.

“I don’t want to side with same-sex marriage just because the world is for it even though my Bible says it’s wrong,” Galloway adds. “I don’t think I should have to compromise on that.”

The most quoted Bible verse on the issue is Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”

Supporters of same-sex marriage argue that the majority of the Bible mentions homosexuality in the Old Testament – the period during which things like not standing in front of elders, cutting your hair, and not mixing fabrics were also prohibited.

The issue of same-sex marriage extends beyond the pulpits to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on the issue in late June or early July. The court will rule in two cases, one involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act and another involving California’s Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment enacted by voters in 2008 limiting marriage to one man and one woman.