The head of the group opposed to Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on Wednesday defended a pastor’s controversial comments against Question 6 during a Baltimore panel on the issue last week.
“Any attempt to imply that Dr. Anderson’s reading of scripture was a call to harm gays and lesbians is false and serves as a distraction from the real issues of this campaign,” said Derek McCoy, chair of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, in a statement. “The Maryland Marriage Alliance No on Question 6 campaign has been and remains focused on explaining to voters the good that marriage does for society, and the consequences that have occurred when marriage has been redefined elsewhere. From the beginning, we have been deeply committed to civility and honor the value of everyone’s human rights. Scripture tells us that all God’s children are made in his image and likeness, and we are called to speak truth through love. We continue to deplore violence or bullying against any person and or group of people on either side of this issue.”
Reverend Robert Anderson of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Md., cited the last verse of Romans 1 during an Oct. 19 town hall meeting on Question 6 at Manna Bible Baptist Church in Baltimore that suggests those who practice homosexuality and those who approve it are “deserving of death.” McCoy, who was also on the four person panel, did not challenge Anderson as he continued to speak against the state’s same-sex marriage law.
“If we don’t vote against it, than we are approving these things that are worthy of death,” said Anderson.
The town hall took place two days before McCoy, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and others attended a rally against marriage rights for same-sex couples at New Harvest Ministries in Baltimore. Phillip Goudeaux of the Calvary Christian Center in Sacramento, Calif., described gay men as “predators” who seek to indoctrinate “our children” during the two hour gathering that drew roughly 100 people.
“Supporters [of] Question 6 are working towards a Maryland where all citizens are treated equally under the law,” said Sultan Shakir of Marylanders for Marriage Equality in response to Anderson’s comments. “The kind of intolerance displayed by opponents paints a clear contrast of what’s at stake in this campaign. Such rancid comments have absolutely no place in this debate. We demand the host of the event, Derek McCoy, disavow and apologize for his panel’s viciously anti-gay words.”
McCoy further defended Anderson.
“Throughout this campaign, we have been clear that all people are worthy of dignity and respect and that tolerance and acceptance of gay and lesbian friends and family does not mean that marriage should be redefined,” he said. “There are people of good will on both sides of this issue. We believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and is the foundation of a stable society. Supporting traditional marriage does not make anyone anti-gay.”