Clergy Weigh In On Calif. Battle Over Gay Marriage

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Statement in support of legal gay marriage i

Asian-American clergy and religious leaders of various ethnicities and Christian denominations sign a statement in support of legal gay marriage and in opposition to Proposition 8, which would outlaw same-sex marriages throughout California, at the Centenary United Methodist Church on October 17, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. As same-sex marriages became legal in California on June 16, conservative churches vowed to fight it and are spearheading passage of Proposition 8 which would change the state constitution to recognize only marriages between one man and one woman as legal. David McNew/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption David McNew/Getty Images
Statement in support of legal gay marriage

Asian-American clergy and religious leaders of various ethnicities and Christian denominations sign a statement in support of legal gay marriage and in opposition to Proposition 8, which would outlaw same-sex marriages throughout California, at the Centenary United Methodist Church on October 17, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. As same-sex marriages became legal in California on June 16, conservative churches vowed to fight it and are spearheading passage of Proposition 8 which would change the state constitution to recognize only marriages between one man and one woman as legal.

David McNew/Getty Images

Californians vote on Proposition 8 on Election Day. That ballot measure would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and could overturn a California Supreme Court decision earlier this year that cleared the way for same-sex marriages in the state.

The fault lines of the argument are clear: gay rights groups insist that this is a civil and human rights issue, while traditional values groups argue that gay marriage undermines the family and the culture.

African-American faith leaders have historically championed civil and human rights. Yet many are also deeply concerned about the stability of the traditional family and believe that gay marriage threatens that.

Discussing the issue are Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., the senior pastor of the Hope Christian Church in the Washington D.C. area, and Rev. Deborah Johnson, senior pastor and founder of Inner Light Ministries in Soquel, California.

Johnson's a spokesperson for the "No on 8" campaign and has been trying to get other black pastors to oppose the proposition.

Jackson is founder and chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, a group of ministers who advocate for traditional family values nationwide. He's also been active in the campaign to pass Proposition 8.

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