Written by Connie Larkman
Prominent African-American clergy from around the country are featured in a new video campaign for same-sex marriage in Maryland, delivering a powerful message in defense of equality for all people.
Marylanders for Marriage Equality released the video in a social media campaign to explain that religious liberty is not threatened by Question 6, a referendum that asks voters to vote for or against the law that would legalize same-sex marriage. The faith leaders featured in the campaign are urging Marylanders to vote for the ballot issue in November.
The MDFME coalition, which represents a diverse group of faith leaders, community partners, local businesses, elected representatives and grassroots supporters, is working to make sure Marylanders understand that a for vote for Question 6 does not threaten the rights of those churches and clergy that do not recognize same-sex marriage.
Several United Church of Christ ministers are featured in the video which underscores a desire to protect the civil rights of all people. As religious leaders, they note "a civic and moral duty to stand with all Americans as they pursue equality."
The Rev. John Deckenback, the UCC's Central Atlantic Conference Minister, pointed out that "the UCC churches across the state have stepped up and have been very active participants in the campaign for Question 6. I think the video is a great testimony by our church leaders. Some have tried to characterize that the African-American community is opposed to marriage equality and the video demonstrates that is not the truth. We have strong support from our faith leaders."
In the video, the Rev. Al Sharpton states that the group understands there are "various views about the religious definition of marriage, as it relates to same-sex couples, but we are confident that the Civil Marriage Protection Act protects religious institutions and clergy who do not perform same-sex marriages." The group also emphasizes that faith leaders "don't have to marry anyone if not consistent with your own religious beliefs."
The Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity UCC in Chicago, says, "In the name of fairness and equality for all, let us lay aside what divides us and join forces in that which unites us. On November 6, vote for Question 6 and let's protect all Marylanders."