Prince George’s Ministers Make Last-Minute Push Against Same-Sex Marriage Bill
(Washington Post) — More than a dozen ministers from churches in Prince George’s County were among religious leaders lobbying Maryland lawmakers in a last-ditch effort to defeat same-sex marriage legislation, which they say violates God’s law. The Prince George’s pastors said they took a stand on behalf of family. “We didn’t come tonight against anybody. We came for the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman,” the Rev. Joel Peebles, pastor of the 19,000-member Jericho City of Praise in Landover, said Monday night in Annapolis.
He was accompanied by his wife, Yolanda, and dozens of church members as he headed for a meeting with Del. Veronica L. Turner (D-Prince George’s). “We believe that this is something that is beneficial to children, so we had to bring folks here to support that,” Peebles said. The Rev. Nathaniel Thomas of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church said opponents of the legislation are not filled with hate or bigotry. “What we are focused on is the word ‘marriage,’ ” he said. “We’re not talking about anyone not having rights. But when you use the word ‘marriage,’ that goes directly to what the church believes is a relationship between a male and a female.”
At the conclusion of the meetings, the preachers, along with Catholic and Jewish leaders, held a brief prayer vigil outside the State House in Annapolis, where they sang religious songs and asked for divine intervention in their effort to defeat the bill. Although religious opposition to same-sex marriage, particularly from African American ministers in Prince George’s and the Maryland Catholic Conference, is not new, religious lobbying is becoming particularly intense as a final vote approaches on the gay nuptials bill, most likely Friday. Debate in the House is scheduled to begin Wednesday.