Clergy respond to Judge’s same-sex marriage decision

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Reaction from some religious leaders in the Commonwealth is not as approving of the overturned same-sex marriage ban as the verbiage in the Norfolk judge’s decision released Thursday night.

“We have arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect,” reads part Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen’ 41-page decision. But the Diocese of Richmond said the decision has “redefined marriage to the peril and detriment of our society.”

WAVY.com had pointed questions for the clergy who were very vocal during the Bostic v. Rainey case that challenged a voter-approved ban of same-sex marriage in Virginia. 10 On Your Side took many of the comments viewers sent us to Bishop G. Wesley Hardy, Sr. and Pastor Calvin Durham Friday.

“The church has no Gospel if it doesn’t hold up a higher standard,” said Bishop Hardy, Sr. “There’s a higher law than the laws of America. The church is like a hospital, a place for people to be healed from their hurts wounds and sins, but that doesn’t mean we endorse their form of lifestyle or what they were doing.”

“We love them, but we must stand for that which God has called us to lead, and God has placed on our heart that this moral issue is one that we must stand for,” said Pastor Calvin Durham.

Their position is unchanged, even in the face of the changing America where they preach. WAVY.com also spoke with the Executive Director of the Virginia Catholic Conference by phone and asked him about people calling the Commonwealth’s clergy hypocritical.

“It’s entirely consistent to on one hand oppose discrimination against individuals, but on the other hand make distinctions between different types of voluntary relationships,” said Jeff Caruso. “It’s not the job of one judge to unilaterally overturn that decision.”

But with an almost certain appeal, and a long road ahead, 10 On Your Side asked the Bishop and Pastor Durham about critiques of black ministers, especially when it comes to an issue many see as involving civil rights.

“I would say that the gay rights movement has hijacked the civil rights movement,” Hardy said.

“It is not a form of civil rights because it does not speak to the civil rights movement,” Durham said.

The clergymen say they’re willing to accept the criticism just as they will continue to accept all people into their churches. One of their biggest concerns is Attorney General Mark Herring’s actions in the case. They wonder if there will be other issues where the Attorney General will decide not to defend a decision Virginian’s have voted for.

The Virginia Christian Alliance is continuing to circulate a petition for Mark Herring’s impeachment: “The people of Virginia should be outraged at Attorney General Mark Herring’s complicity in this decision to negate your expressed will.”

The group says the reasoning behind the judge’s decision that came down Thursday night is backward, and they’re ready for an appeal.

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