Black Pastors: Pro-Gay-Marriage Ad ‘Manipulating the Black Community’

By Matt Cover | November 1, 2012 | 5:32 AM EDT

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signs the Civil Marriage Protection Act alongside Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, left, and Speaker of the House of Delegates Michael Busch, right, in Annapolis, Md., Thursday, March 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

( – A group of African-American pastors is slamming a political ad that urges Marylanders to vote for a ballot referendum that would legalize same-sex marriage, calling it an attempt “to re-educate the black community” on the issue.

“The Black church has been the conscience of not only the Black community but of the nation," the Rev. Williams Owens, founder and President of CAAP (Coalition of African-American Pastors), said Wednesday in a statement.

“It's bad enough for President Obama to personally support gay marriage, now he and this ad are urging Black Christians to ignore their pastors and are attempting to re-educate the Black Christian community for political gain. This has to stop.”

The ad features two female African-Americans, one of whom is unsure whether to support Maryland’s Question 6, which would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The ad mentions President Obama’s support for gay marriage and features a clip of the president explaining why he changed his stance on the issue.

The ad attempts to use African-Americans’ strong support of Obama to influence opinions on Question 6, using Obama’s reasoning that supporting same-sex marriage is akin to the biblical Golden Rule.

“Isn't it though? I'd always kinda been on the fence, but Obama makes it so simple: it's about fairness -- treating everyone equal under the law,” the ad says.

Owens said the ad is an attempt at “pandering and manipulating the Black community” by playing on their support for Obama to convince them go against the teachings of their churches.

“This ad is the worst attempt at pandering and manipulating the Black community to ignore their own pastors who rightfully uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage. President Obama, whose support for same-sex marriage is used in the ad to explicitly pressure Black listeners to ignore their church's teachings, must disavow the ad and its message,” Owens said.

Black Christian churches traditionally have opposed homosexual marriage on religious grounds, often frustrating the attempts of liberals who try to enact it. In Maryland, the state legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill earlier this year, prompting the ballot measure as a last-chance effort by opponents of gay marriage to stop the law from taking effect.

A Washington Post poll published October 18 found that Maryland voters favor upholding the state’s same-sex marriage law by a nine-point margin.

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