Following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 on Wednesday, the Memphis-based Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) condemned the ruling, calling the two measures “key laws supporting traditional marriage.”
CAAP has long opposed same-sex marriage, even launching a petition in protest.
“We are devastated that the Supreme Court succumbed to political pressure by voting to weaken the sacred institution. They neglected our most precious children who need a mother and a father united in marriage for healthy development,” said Rev. William Owens, President of CAAP. “The African-American community has already been plagued with problems related to children growing up in single parent households. This ruling will only accelerate the further erosion of our communities and society.”
The ruling in DOMA, on a 5-4 vote, game legally married gay couples the right to claim the same federal benefits that are available to opposite-sex married couples. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.
In another 5-4 vote, the Court ruled that supporters of the ban on gay marriage in California, Proposition 8, did not have standing to defend the law. That ruling effectively gave the green light for at least some gay weddings to proceed in California, and a federal judge’s original ruling striking down the law will remain.
Owens disagreed with the two rulings and vowed that his group would press forward to restrict marriage to a union between one man and one woman.
“We will not give up on marriage as the solid social institution recognized by cultures worldwide,” he said. “It is time for African-Americans and the Christian community to rise up and renew their efforts to protect marriage and strengthen the families in their communities. African-Americans pay a disproportionate price as collateral damage of the aggressive gay agenda, and it will take leaders across the country to resist the cultural shift on marriage.”
The group is hosting a press conference featuring Black clergy in Memphis on Wednesday at 2 pm ET in support of opposite-sex marriage.
(Photo: CAAP President Rev. William Owens speaks at a rally)