NC pastors rally for same-sex marriage ban

Group of pastors is calling on North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to defend that state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

By Bob Allen

A former U.S. Senate candidate and past president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina joined other pastors at a rally at the state capitol July 15 calling on Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to defend the state’s ban on gay marriage against lawsuits by same-sex couples cropping up across the state.

mark harrisMark Harris, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte, N.C., called on McCrory, a socially moderate Republican elected in 2012, to “pull out all stops” to defend Amendment One, an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman approved by more than 60 percent of voters in May 2012.

Harris, who recently lost a race in the state’s Republican Senate primary campaign to Thom Tillis, the North Carolina House speaker, joined in a press conference sponsored by the North Carolina Pastors’ Network promoting a petition urging the governor to use his executive powers to defend the marriage amendment likely to be affected by an upcoming ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“As committed believers in Jesus Christ and His Holy Word, we believe that marriage is God’s institution,” the petition states. “We also believe the Scriptures to be unequivocally clear that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Anticipating that the 4th Circuit Court will soon render a decision on Virginia’s marriage amendment and noting that the state of North Carolina falls under the same court’s jurisdiction, the group “solemnly and unreservedly” demanded that McCrory “use his authority as Governor of the state of North Carolina to defend our state’s marriage amendment passed by an overwhelming majority of North Carolina citizens (61 percent) on May 8, 2012.”

Harris said he disagrees with the prevailing view that support for same-sex marriage is growing.

“There is not a trend of change in the minds of people,” Harris said, according to the Biblical Recorder, the Baptist convention’s newspaper. “We must recall that 32 states where people actually were given the chance to vote, they overwhelmingly decided traditional marriage as the law of their state.”

Harris said the only trend toward gay marriage is in the courts. “In fact, some have pointed out that this attitude of judicial supremacy is perhaps the greatest heresy of our times,” he said.

Harris completed two years as president of the in 4,300-church statewide affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2013.

mark creechAnother speaker at the rally was Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, which represents the North Carolina convention and 16 other conservative denominations on public policy issues in the statehouse.

Creech, who served as a pastor of six Baptist churches over the course of 20 years before accepting the post in 1999, said defining marriage should not be up to the courts but to the people.

“It is a sad, sad day when a government which was meant to be of the people, by the people and for the people has become a government of the courts, by the courts and for the courts,” Creech said, according to the Biblical Recorder report.