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Black Pastors Condemn Comparison of Gay Rights to Civil Rights: ‘It is Intellectually Empty’

More than 100 African-American pastors are speaking out against a Michigan judge who overturned the 2004 voter-approved amendment to the Michigan Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage in the state.

The pastors’ message is very clear – civil rights and gay rights are not comparable.

While the judge who overturned the ban on March 21, Bernard Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, never made specific comparisons to the civil rights when making his decision, the pastors point out that many of the arguments used in this case were similar to those that were used against interracial marriage back in the 1960s.

An amicus brief in the state’s gay marriage trial was filed on the pastors’ behalf on Wednesday and the initial ruling to overturn the same-sex marriage ban has been put on hold until the case is considered by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The main argument presented by the pastors is that gay rights cannot be compared to civil rights and the struggles of the LGBT community do come close to the hardships faced by African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights Movement.

“The fact that American media or other factions erroneously characterize the traditional meaning of ‘marriage’ as being on par with the civil rights deprivations of Black Americans does not make it so,” the brief states. “Comparing the dilemmas of same-sex couples to the centuries of discrimination faced by Black Americans is a distortion of our country’s cultural and legal history.”

Minister Stacy Swimp of Revive Alive Missional Ministry added,

“To state that marriage redefinition is in any way similar to the civil rights movement is intellectually empty, dishonest and manufactured. When has anyone from the LGBT demographic ever been publicly lynched, specifically excluded from moving into neighborhoods, prohibited from sitting on a jury and denied the right to sue others because of their sexual preferences?”

The pastors specifically referenced the 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia, where the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws that banned interracial marriage.

During that case, the well-being of the children of interracial parents was brought into question and that argument parallels the logic used by Friedman when he overturned the same-sex marriage ban.

The 1967 case found that interracial parents would not threaten the well-being of a child, and Friedman argued that there was also no proof that same-sex parents would threaten the well-being of a child either.

The pastors, on the other hand, disagree.

The brief says that race is an “immutable” characteristic, while sexuality is a preference and  “activity” that people engage in.

“The state has no responsibility to promote any person’s sexual proclivities, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise,” the brief states.

As for the judge’s take on the matter, court documents state “citizens of Michigan adopted the MMA [Michigan Marriage Act] on the premise that heterosexual married couples provide the optimal environment for raising children. The court rejects that rationale for several reasons.”

A survey conducted by Michigan State University earlier this year revealed that the support for same-sex marriage in Michigan has increased dramatically in recent years.

The survey found that nearly 50 percent of Black residents in Michigan were in support of gay marriage, up more than 30 percent from 2012.

What people are saying

11 thoughts on “Black Pastors Condemn Comparison of Gay Rights to Civil Rights: ‘It is Intellectually Empty’

  1. David Flint says:

    “The state has no responsibility to promote any person’s sexual proclivities, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise,” the brief states.

    So I have a question then. Why support the ban?

  2. David Flint says:

    The brief says that race is an “immutable” characteristic, while sexuality is a preference and “activity” that people engage in.

    Does this mean these pastors could be just as happy in a marriage to someone of the same sex? Does this mean they all admit they could "turn gay" somehow?

    I wonder what how their spouses feel about that question.

  3. Bessie Wash-Smith says:


  4. Sundiata Keita says:

    gays have a history of oppressing black people, J Edgar Hoover, Cecil Rhodes. these gay people are going to turn right wing after they get their rights and oppress us. same as the Jews, Italians, Irish and every other group that integrated into white society.

  5. Kevin Hanna says:

    This is bullshit…bigotry is bigotry no matter the context period and NO BLACK PERSON should ever align themselves with any rhetoric that promotes any form of bigotry what so ever there is no difference between the two plights. ANY form of discrimination should always be condemned by our people just on princable alone just for the fact what happened to us in the past …Any black person that would indulge in such activity should look up the talk and actions of the whites in the past and they will find the talk was the same just in reference to us … dare we condemn others to to the same fate its disgraceful and hypocritical and destroys what our fore fathers fought for …equality for all

  6. Sundiata Keita That is so true. Gays have always had the same rights as the rest of white people. They could go to any school they wanted, employment, movie theatres, restaurants, ride in the front of the bus. Do I need to go any further?

  7. Sundiata Keita says:

    Nzingha Shabaka exactly sista. they always trying to take what we did and steal it, you know what i mean. ive been documenting it when i see it so 20 years from now, i can show these bruthas how it got so F'd up.

  8. True Kafir says:

    the latetest gay "lynched " is a young Kazak lesbian who's story got out and she was tortured and burned alive . this idea that homos had it easier than blacks is wrong , were was the gay community in the 1850s or 1920s ? Hidden away but mostly just non existent because of the force of Christian bigotry enforced against homosexuality . some ignorant person below says at least they could ride in the front of the bus , well what good is ridding any were when you are not able to be your self . yes all those Christians seem to ignore how past generations of homosexuals were repressed in to closets , who pays for there suffering ?

  9. Mangi SIna says:

    lets no discriminate polygamy and bestially too…and many other fetishes and weird behaviors…ur cheap brother…insulting ur fellows and falling back to exaggerated generalities of past events just shows me how much u THINK you are better than everyone else here…and i see u have a pet, Deborah is her name…well, free people have the right to express their opinions…BUT think again…

  10. Mangi SIna says:

    YES it means so…but it doesnt mean they are already gay…

  11. Brenda Mcclellan says:

    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere". -Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jrr.

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