CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ABP) – The gay-marriage debate is about far more than sex, says a leader of one of three Baptist groups working together to defeat an upcoming vote to amend North Carolina’s constitution to recognize marriage as only between a man and a woman.
LeDayne McLeese Polaski, program director of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, said in a video on the ministry website [http://www.bpfna.org/home] that people sometimes ask why a peacemaking group would be interested in gay rights.
“When the Baptist Peace Fellowship became officially welcoming and affirming about 15 years ago, some of the biggest critiques that we got were ‘this is not a peace issue,’” she said. “Our response to that is any justice issue is a peace issue, because we can’t have peace if we don’t have justice.”
“And I would add to that we can’t have peace for some people or any people if we don’t have justice for all people,” she continued. “So for us this is a very clear justice issue.”
The Baptist Peace Fellowship is joining the Alliance of Baptists and Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists in a campaign called Many Voices, One Love. [http://www.manyvoicesonelove.com/index.html] Polaski said the coalition decided to start with North Carolina’s Amendment One, because the BPFNA is based in Charlotte and there are a lot of member churches in the state that would be affected directly if the amendment were to pass.
“It’s a justice issue for GLBT folks in our midst,” she said. “It’s a justice issue for unmarried couples in our midst, who are also going to be written out of the constitution if this amendment passes. It’s a justice issue for how children and domestic violence victims are treated in our courts. So for us it’s a really big issue.”
Polaski said many people view working for peace as a “far and distant concept” dealt with by diplomats and world leaders.
“I think that most peace and justice issues are really lived out right where they are,” she said. “They’re lived out in our homes, in our churches, our schools and the things that we do and don’t do, that we say and we don’t say.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.