By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
June 17, 2014
“Marriage Monday is about as much about true marriage as Moral Mondays are about real morals,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, regarding the latest efforts of homosexual forces to pressure elected officials to ignore the will of the people and stop defending the Marriage Protection Amendment.
The executive director of the Christian Action League said he is more saddened than anything by the involvement of clergy in delivering some 30,000 signatures asking N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper not to defend the state’s MPA. The United Church of Christ is a leader in the push, joining other ministers and same-sex couples to file an April lawsuit challenging the amendment via a convoluted argument involving religious freedom.
General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper claims that state laws restrict the freedoms of religion and association by making it a misdemeanor for ministers to perform a marriage without a marriage license, a license, which by statute, and since 2012 by Constitutional amendment, is not available to same-sex couples.
“North Carolina marriage laws clearly violate the principle of ‘free exercise of religion’ upon which the United Church of Christ — and this country — is built,” the Rev. Geoffrey Black, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, told the media following Monday’s march on the AG’s office during which some 20 petitioners sang and dropped off signatures at the front desk. “This isn’t just about delivering 30,000 signed petitions; we are standing up for the rights of all Americans that deserve their full Constitutional rights of religious freedom and equal protection under the law.”
According to WRAL, Cooper was quick to agree with the petitioners that North Carolina should welcome same-sex marriage, but also explained in a memo his duty to uphold the law.
“When legal arguments exist to defend a law, it is the duty of the Office of the Attorney General under North Carolina law to make those arguments in court,” Cooper’s statement read.
Dr. Creech said members of the clergy who are unconcerned about the will of the people, who voted 61 to 39 percent in favor of traditional marriage, should certainly be concerned about the will of God.
“The most disturbing part of this is seeing those that are supposed to know God’s word going out of their way to defy it and, as a result, leading others astray,” he said.
As for the freedom of religion claim, Dr. Creech pointed out that nothing in state law prevents ministers from celebrating unions in churches for religious purposes.
“This is about ministers acting as agents of the state to sanction a state recognized marriage, and there’s no religious liberty right to have the relationship of your choice recognized as a marriage by the state,” he said.
In fact North Carolina’s Marriage Protection Amendment spells out the fact that the law “does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
“A church can bless these unions however they so choose, they just can’t force the state to recognize their ceremony as a marriage,” Dr. Creech added. “The real question is not religious freedom; it is the redefinition of marriage.”
He said ongoing pressure on the Attorney General to halt his office’s defense of the MPA shows the importance of legislation passed last year to allow the General Assembly to defend state law if the AG should refuse to do so, which has happened in states such as Virginia.