Pastors Speak out at D.C. Gay Marriage Hearings

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Hearings are underway in Washington, D.C., to decide if same-sex marriage should be legal in the nation's capital.

Hundreds of people are stepping up to make their voice heard, including local pastors who are calling on city leaders to leave the issue up to the voters.

A Civil Rights Issue?

Monday's hearing was packed with supporters and opponents of the city council's bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

City leaders have rejected the idea of allowing a vote, calling it a civil rights issue that shouldn't be on the ballot.

"On this issue I think we do represent the majority view among voters," said one council member.

Supporters of traditional marriage believe God can change the minds of council members who already voted earlier this year to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

"I believe the people of D.C. have suffered an injustice by being ignored already and you're about to do that again," said Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of Stand4MarriageDC.

"Twelve hundred ministers have signed on with us in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. -- people who live, work or worship in D.C. What you do will have far reaching consequences," he warned.

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, agreed, arguing that same-sex marriage is not a civil rights matter - but a moral one.

"The city council claims that the citizens have no right to vote on it because it's a so-called civil rights issue. And, thankfully, pastors have risen up and said this is a moral issue and this will affect our day-to-day lives," Wright said.

"It affects the stability of society as to whether or not marriage will be respected as between one man and one woman," she said.

Gay Marriage Supporters Press Forward

Despite the opposition, supporters of gay marriage remain hopeful.

"I am expecting that the council will move forward and that there will be challenges along the way. But ultimately I believe there will be a recognition of marriage equality in the District of Columbia," said Rev. Cedric Harmon, a proponent of gay marriage.

Opponents of same-sex marriage are preparing to turn to the courts if D.C. city leaders deny their request for a ballot initiative on whether marriage should be limited to one man and one woman.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.