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Michigan pastors declare ‘the fight is on’ when it comes to same-sex marriage

Thursday, May 15, 2014
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DETROIT — A group of about 200 mostly Michigan-based black pastors gathered in Detroit on Wednesday to declare “the fight is on” when it comes to same-sex marriage.

Rev. Stacy Swimp speaks at a news conference at the First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit  on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. NPR

Rev. Stacy Swimp speaks at a news conference at the First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

“You are my enemy! Anybody that’s an enemy of God is an enemy of mine,” declared Pastor Roland Caldwell of the Burnette Inspiration Baptist Church of Detroit. “And now the fight is on! We’ve come together to say, ‘Hell no. We’re not going to sit back.’”

The pastors condemned a ruling that struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage in an event at First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit to announce they had filed they had hired the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center to file an amicus brief with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to support the state’s appeal.

That brief will “represent and us make sure our voices are heard,” said Flint-based minister Stacy Swimp, one of the group’s leaders, who added that same-sex marriage will “destroy the backbone of our society.”

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The Michigan Catholic Conference and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also filed briefs on behalf of themselves and other conservative Christian groups with the 6th Circuit court.

The briefs support Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in his efforts to defend the state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, which was overturned earlier this year by a federal judge in Detroit.

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“The pastors and conservative organizations mounting a legal attack on fairness and equality are using divisive tactics that continue to fail,” said Sommer Foster, Director of Political Advocacy for Equality Michigan, a statewide LGBT advocacy group.

“They are depending on our fears and willingness to discriminate, but we aren’t buying it and neither are the people of faith or communities of color they are attempting to stir up,” said Foster.

Voters in 2004 defined marriage as between a man and a woman, but a Detroit federal judge ruled it’s unconstitutional. More than 300 same-sex couples were married before the appeals court suspended the decision by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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