Jackson to Fight Marriage Equality in DC

Charisma Magazine ran an article on the new National Organization for Marriage ad we mentioned yesterday in which various right-wing leaders say that the recent marriage vote in Vermont is proof that this debate was never about legal benefits but is really part of an effort to fundamentally redefine society:

Pro-family leaders say the vote in Vermont, which in 2000 became the first state to create civil union laws that gave same-sex couples the federal benefits of marriage, is proof that the debate over gay marriage was not about legal benefits.

“That was merely the wedge to demand more, to require that everyone in society accept what cannot-by nature-be, that marriage can be something other than one man and one woman,” said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

Austin R. Nimocks, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which has argued in court on behalf of traditional marriage supporters, said civil union laws are tools to usher in gay marriage nationally.

“This move [in Vermont] also demonstrates without question that ‘civil unions’ are never acceptable middle ground,” Nimocks said. “Instead, they are the groundwork used to pave the way toward what you see today. Other states should not be naïve.”

NOM executive director Brian Brown said his organization’s new ad campaign was about protecting their religious freedom, saying that if states are allowed to pass marriage equality laws then those who “believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman [are going to be treated as] the equivalent of bigots.” And it looks like NOM will be getting some help in this effort, as it is also reported that Harry Jackson is setting up his own campaign to prevent Washington, DC from following Vermont’s lead:

Bishop Harry Jackson, founder of the Maryland-based High Impact Leadership Coalition, is setting up an office in the District of Columbia and launching a grass-roots campaign to oppose a gay marriage bill he said will likely be introduced in the District within the next 60 to 90 days.

Because the U.S. Congress governs the District, such a move would be a direct challenge to DOMA. Jackson, who is black, said educating African-American and Hispanic pastors in particular about gay marriage efforts will be key in preserving traditional marriage.

“In November, we had three simultaneous, major victories,” Jackson said, referring to the passage of marriage amendments in Florida, Arizona and California. “We saw that the church uniting around racial boundaries is what makes the difference. … When people who know the Lord know the issues, then we find people voting the right way.”

This is the first we have head of Jackson’s nascent effort, but it is something we will certainly be keeping an eye on.

And speaking of Jackson, he is also not happy with Rick Warren for claiming that fighting against marriage equality is not even on his agenda:

“This man who’s been called the next Billy Graham, who I really respect with all my heart and love what he’s doing in Africa, is falling into a trap that is emblematic of the problem that the entire church is facing in this generation,” Jackson states. “And that is that we love the applause of men more than we love the work of God and the gospel. Jesus…told us that we are to honor God first, and that we are not to fear men but we’re to fear God.”

Jackson argues that Warren was “aiding and abetting a deception around what kind of stance the Bible calls Christians to take” by telling Larry King that opposing the recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage was “not his agenda.”

“He is the author of The Purpose Driven Life book,” Jackson notes, “and therefore people are going to think, ‘Well, this is not on my mission — it’s not on my purpose. I don’t have to stand for truth.’

“Therefore, his defection — in terms of his stance on this issue — [and] his backsliding on this issue, becomes of tremendous damage to the strength of the church in this position.”