WASHINGTON -- A group of Washington-area ministers called for a referendum on whether the District of Columbia should legally recognize gay marriages from other states.
The D.C. Council recently voted to recognize those marriages but has stopped short of trying to legalize gay marriages performed in D.C. The vote recognized the growing number of states that are allowing same-sex marriages, council members said. On Tuesday, the California Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether Proposition 8 -- banning same sex marriages in the state -- is unconstitutional, a case watched closely by both sides.
The Missionary Baptist Ministers Conference called for the referendum while gathering on Memorial Day to honor pastors who have died. Gay marriage violates Christian beliefs and teachings.
"And now, we are using our prophetic voices to speak for God on behalf of his people in this crucial and defining moment of same-sex marriage, and we are crying aloud, 'Not on our watch,'" said the Rev. Dr. George C. Gilbert, Holy Trinity United Methodist Church
The ministers face a losing battle as public opinion is swiftly changing, gay equality supporters said.
"What we're seeing right now is that we're at a tipping point in this fight for marriage equality and that different parts of the country are moving in the direction of marriage equality in different ways," said Joe Salmonese, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign.
The ministers said they see a D.C. referendum as at least slowing the gay equality movement. It's unclear whether or when any referendum would be presented to D.C. voters.