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Wed April 25, 2012
Diverse Views On Amendment From Faith Leaders
A proposed amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage and civil unions has divided religious communities. For our series examining the arguments over the amendment, Isaac-Davy Aronson spoke to two North Carolina faith leaders.
Isaac-Davy Aronson: Michael Curry is the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. He opposes the amendment.
Michael Curry: This is coming out of my faith, as a Christian, as an Episcopal bishop, as an African American man, you don't do harm to people.
Patrick Wooden is pastor of Raleigh's Upper Room Church of God in Christ. He supports the amendment.
Patrick Wooden: I do submit to biblical authority, and the Bible is overwhelmingly clear on this issue, that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.
But much like their secular counterparts in the debate over the amendment, the two faith leaders seem to be talking past each other. Bishop Curry, like many non-religious opponents of the amendment, doesn't really want to talk about gay marriage at all.
Curry: The issue is these protections and the hurt and harm this amendment will do. We can certainly have a discussion about marriage and all that later - but that's a whole other issue.
Curry says the amendment will strip away protections and benefits from unmarried couples and their children. Reverend Wooden calls those warnings a "smokescreen" and a "lie." He says the amendment will simply protect a traditional, sacred institution. But his support of the amendment is clearly bound up in broader concerns about homosexuality. Citing widely discredited statistics, Wooden says homosexuality leads to disease and death.
Wooden: It is a lifestyle that at the end of the day is a deathstyle. An I do not believe that the state of North Carolina should have marriage redefined, so now we gotta take something that people innately know is abnormal and try to convince people that it is normal.
To Wooden, failure to pass the amendment would be tacit approval of homosexuality, something he sees as harmful. To Curry, it's the amendment itself that's harmful.
Curry: I believe that every person has been created, as the first chapter of Genesis says, in the image of God, and that means that every person is of infinite value, worth and sacredness. And to do anything that harms the human person is wrong.
The amendment is on the ballot May 8th.