Editorial: Promote Marriage Rather Than Fight ‘Equality’

Editorial: Promote Marriage Rather Than Fight ‘Equality’
October 10
00:00 2014

Two interesting events regarding black marriage and family occurred during September.
On Sept. 24, the Pew Research Center released a new report revealing that more young adults are opting not to marry, noting that “the rate of increase has been most dramatic among blacks.” This news came one day after the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., announced that it would be filing friend-of-the-court briefs (amicus briefs) on behalf of a Coalition of African-American pastors and Christian leaders opposed to same-sex marriage.

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, explained that the briefs will represent “the voice of a majority of African Americans that discrimination because of one’s sexual preference is not the same thing as racial discrimination and that tradition and morality should not be discarded as a basis of the law; as the pro-homosexual judges have done in their opinions.”

Several pastors representing the African-American community spoke at the press conference, including Bishop Samuel Smith, Pastors Danny Holliday and Emery Moss and Evangelist Janet Boynes, a former lesbian and member of the group. Each defended the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

To date, the Thomas More Law Center has filed two amicus briefs on behalf of this coalition involving petitions for review in the U.S. Supreme Court: Herbert v. Kitchen, an appeal of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning Utah’s law defining traditional marriage and Rainey v. Bostic, an appeal of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning Virginia’s law defining traditional marriage.

On the surface, advocates of traditional marriage might find this encouraging. As the executive director of Black Family Preservation Group, Inc. – an organization that promotes marriage as a vehicle to strengthen African-American families – I applaud the coalition’s effort to defend traditional, biblical marriage. However, the fallacy of this coalition’s initiative becomes evident when considering the Pew research.

After decades of declining marriage rates and changes in family structure, the percentage of American adults who have never been married is at an historic high. According to Wendy Wang and Kim Parker, who authored the research report, the move away from marriage is attributed to a variety of factors. Not only are people marrying later in life, but more significant is the fact that increasingly young adults are cohabiting and raising children outside of marriage.

That is a critical observation. Currently, 72 percent of black children are being born into single-parent homes, which means that most black churches are filled with baby-mommas and baby-daddys, not husbands and wives raising children under the covenant of marriage as scripture prescribes. Is it realistic to expect pastors have more influence in court persuading judges to deny marriage to gay couples than they have in their own pulpits?

I challenge these pastors to change the mindset about marriage within the black community. If they are truly concerned about preserving traditional marriage, instead of protesting against gays because they should not be getting married, black pastors should be using their voices to convince our Christian youth that they should be getting married. And they should do so before having children.

Sharon Brooks Hodge,  Guest Columnist

Sharon Brooks Hodge,
Guest Columnist

Sharon Brooks Hodge, a former editor of The Chronicle, is executive director of Black Family Preservation Group, Inc., ( a national organization that promotes marriage and two-parent homes as the best environment for raising children.

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