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Baptist Pastor says his church’s opposition shouldn’t stop gay couples marrying

Baptist Pastor says his church’s opposition shouldn’t stop gay couples marrying

The pastor of a Harlem, New York, Baptist church has told a television panel that his faith based opposition to the concept of same-sex marriage should have no baring on who anybody else chooses to get married to and that he hopes the US Supreme Court rules in favor of that right.

Pastor Calvin Butts of Abyssinian Baptist Church made the comments while appearing on ABC TV’s This Week show, hosted by George Stephanopolous.

Stephanopolous questioned how Pastor Butts squared his opposition to same-sex marriage with many of his political allies support for the issue.

‘It’s something that we don’t believe in [in my church], in terms of what we have learned from the Bible,’ Butts replied.

‘But in terms of men and women having their rights as citizens and human beings, we certainly affirm that.’

‘[Gays and lesbians] should have every right as a citizen of this nation and every right as a human being to enjoy the freedom that God has given you.’

Pastor Butts said it was up to individuals to decide who it was right for them to marry.

‘The choice is yours,’ Butts replied, ‘And I should not stand in the way of you making that choice.’

‘I have to extol what I believe my religion teaches, and it does not teach that a marriage between a man and a man and a woman and a woman is God’s divine imperative.’

‘But, I can’t stand in the way of [gay couples getting married], and I don’t think the Supreme Court should stand in the way of that.’

Stephanopolous then asked if this meant that Pastor Butts had a ‘strict separation between what you practice inside your church and what you believe should happen in the public square?’

‘I believe I have to support [marriage equality] in the civil society,’ Pastor Butts replied.

Otherwise, I would not be a good citizen over this great nation and a participant in this experimentation of democracy. However, I choose to believe the Book upon which I build my life.’

Pastor Butts is one of the most high profile African American religious leaders to publicly back the rights of same-sex couples to be able to enter into civil marriages.