On May 17, 12:01 am, Massachusetts became the first state in the history of the United States to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians. Some 270 homosexual couples have received the licenses by early morning, with several thousands more expected to file.
And while several pro-family and Christian groups protested at the city halls, thousands more across America planned out rallies in support of the federal marriage amendment, which would effectively void the legalization of gay and lesbian “marriage” in all 50 states.
In Connecticut, the Family Institute of Connecticut gathered over 100 pro-family advocates at the state capitol on May 16th to protest the Massachusetts decision.
"Massachusetts will be the first state in the nation to radically redefine marriage to say that male and female do not matter, that it is not in the best interest of children to have a mom and a dad, and to upend the whole course of western civilization," said Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut.
Brown, who said he would present a petition with 90,000 signatures in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Connecticut governor’s office in Hartford today, is among the many Christian leaders who fear the destructive ramifications of the Massachusetts decision at a nationwide scale.
Even before May 17th, several mayors in Massachusetts publicly announced that they would defy the governor’s decree to keep the gay “marriages” among registered couples of Massachusetts, and by midday, dozens of out-of-state same sex couples received those licenses.
According to the Baptist Press – the newsletter of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention – these couples will now have “a stronger legal grounds to sue in federal court and ask that their marriage licenses be recognized elsewhere,” and “a lawsuit could take place in a state court where justices may be inclined to issue a favorable ruling.”
Already in Hartford, pro-gay advocates began lobbying Connecticut lawmakers to legalize the unions in their own states.
"This is a civil right we are demanding, not an infringement on religion or the right to religious liberty,” said Rep. Evelyn Mantilla, D-Hartford, who is gay.
However, African American clergy across the States have avidly contested such comparisons, clearly stating that gay “marriage” is not an issue of civil rights.
"Gays have never gone through slavery nor been put down and abused like blacks,'' said Bishop Frank Stewart of the Zoe Christian Fellowship, a group of 21 churches in Southern California. "It's an insult to use that parallel.''
Today, some of the nation’s best-known black clergymen will convene in Washington D.C. to voice their support of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Additionally, several African American church leaders in each state will begin a “state-by-state grassroots effort to pass legislation protecting marriage.''
One of the strong advocates of traditional marriage, evangelist Frederick K.C. Price, said that he has “nothing against homosexual individuals,” but “marriage is a union created and recognized by God.”
He also said that biblically speaking, "homosexuality is an abomination.''
"I don't have the words to describe the importance of this issue,'' he continued. "This is important to every ethnic Christian community.''
Judith Woodward, 64, of Glastonbury who attended the Hartford rally, agreed.
"If you look at the physical makeup, the biological makeup of a man and a woman, you can see how god created us to have sexual relationships with one another," said Woodward, a volunteer at the Better Choice Women's Center in Middletown, a Christian pro-life center.
Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also warned the Christian public.
“If the Massachusetts decision is allowed to stand, this nation faces nothing less than moral disaster. America is now a nation at war with itself, and with marriage,” wrote Mohler in a commentary. “This is a day that will live in moral infamy. The attacks on Pearl Harbor, New York, and Washington awakened the nation to peril and called citizens to action. That must happen once again, as millions of Americans must now awaken to the fact that an out-of-control judiciary and an army of social engineers are forcing their will upon us.”
Meanwhile, the black pastors will convene again for a larger rally entitled, “Not on My Watch” next week in Texas. The April 22 rally, organized by the conservative Christian group Promise Keepers, will again challenge the rhetoric used by pro-gay lobbyists who equate their movement to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.
"It would be a historical error to equate the civil rights struggle for racial equality with the movement for civil accommodations based solely upon sexual behavior,'' said Promise Keepers President Thomas Fortman, an African American who grew up in the civil rights movement and was named the head of the evangelical men's movement last October.