Thousands of Southern Baptists voted gays do not deserve to have equal civil rights yesterday (20 June).
The decision comes a day after the American religious group for the first time voted black man Fred Luter as their leader, striving to erase the organization’s legacy of racism.
The majority of delegates said same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue, as it affects their strong Christian faith.
The resolution states: ‘It is regrettable that homosexual rights activists and those who are promoting the recognition of ‘same-sex marriage’ have misappropriated the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement.’
The Rev. Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, was one of the authors of the gay marriage statement.
‘It’s important to sound the alarm again, because the culture is changing,’ Associated Press reports.
McKissic, who is African-American, said it was an ‘unfair comparison’ for gays to equate same-sex marriage with civil rights because there is supposedly not scientific evidence people are born gay, like race.
He said: ‘They’re equating their sin with my skin.’
At the Southern Baptist Convention they also called for the US Justice Department to cease efforts to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and for the Obama administration to ensure soldiers can freely express their religious convictions about homosexuality.
Southern Baptists do admit gays and lesbians sometimes experience ‘unique struggles’ but declared they lack the ‘distinguishing features of classes entitled to special protections.’
The resolution includes a statement saying the Southern Baptists stands against ‘any form of gay-bashing, whether disrespectful attitudes, hateful rhetoric, or hate-incited actions.’
The Southern Baptist Convention is the world’s largest Baptist denomination, with over 16 million members worldwide as of 2010.