- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2004

In the battle for same-sex “marriage,” homosexual rights activists have been using civil rights metaphors to advance their cause.

“I am tired of sitting at the back of the bus,” said one 37-year-old California man who recently went to San Francisco to “marry” his male partner.

“Rosa Parks didn’t wait for the courts to tell her it was all right to ride in the front of the bus,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, when asked by Newsweek why he authorized the city’s same-sex “marriage” spree that started Feb. 12.

The imagery might resonate with homosexual rights activists and their allies, but it is angering many black Americans, who are offended that their struggle for equal rights is being associated with the dismantling of what they consider a divinely inspired and socially essential institution.

“We find the gay community’s attempt to tie their pursuit of special rights based on their behavior to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s abhorrent,” Bishop Andrew Merritt of Straight Gate Ministries and several other Detroit pastors said recently in a statement supporting traditional marriage. “Being black is not a lifestyle choice.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson also has said homosexual rights are not the same as civil rights.

“Gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution,” he recently told Boston-area students.

But equating homosexual rights with civil rights is an analogy that has been used for years and is supported by icons such as Coretta Scott King, Julian Bond and Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat.

“Of course there’s a reason the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force links the issues of African-American civil rights and homosexual civil rights: Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King’s widow, told them to,” said an article at www.hatecrime.org, which lists statements by Mrs. King.

Black Americans have been liberal on many social issues, “but not this one,” according to Star Parker, a California-based conservative leader.

The homosexual “marriage” issue “is where we get off the bus,” she said.

Several black pastors are gathering today in San Francisco for the first of several rallies to denounce same-sex “marriage.” Others are planning rallies in Boston on March 11, when Massachusetts lawmakers reconvene to consider an amendment upholding traditional marriage.

Tomorrow on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, is set to join black and Hispanic leaders in supporting a federal marriage amendment.

“Black pastors understand what’s at stake here, and they’re not going to put their color before Christ,” said Mrs. Parker, whose group, Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education, is helping organize the San Francisco rallies. “You want to wage war with the black evangelical church? You got it.”

Black opposition to homosexual “marriage” could have major political consequences. Already, the portion of black Americans identifying with the Democratic Party has fallen from 74 percent in 2000 to 63 percent in 2002, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Few, if any, polls specifically have identified opposition to homosexual “marriage” as a reason to leave the Democratic Party.

But “communities of color” are the strongest supporters of traditional marriage and amendments to protect it, said Matt Daniels, executive director of the Alliance for Marriage, which supports a federal marriage amendment and has the Rev. Walter Fauntroy, former D.C. delegate, on its board.

People in black churches are watching this marriage debate, “and they are saying to themselves, ‘There is something to this that is not right. It’s not right at all,’” said the Rev. Jeffrey L. Brown, a Cambridge, Mass., pastor who has joined others in the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston.

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