By Michael Gordon and Tim Funk
Bishop Phillip Davis delivers his sermon during Sunday’s service at Nations Ford Community Church. He is encouraging his members to vote for Amendment One, which President Barack Obama and others call discriminatory. Robert Lahser – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bishop Phillip Davis had not planned to talk about marriage and politics, but five minutes into his sermon at Nations Ford Community Church in Charlotte he changed his mind.
Not only should the 6,000 members of the overwhelmingly African-American congregation pray with one voice, he said, come May 8 they should vote with one, too.
“You know, we got this amendment on the ballot,” Davis said, walking to the back of the church stage, then throwing his arm around a member of the men’s choir as laughter grew.
“If I was your pastor, and I was married to him, how many of y’all would be here today? ”
Thirty-one states – in 31 tries – have approved amendments to block gay unions. Based on the polls, North Carolina is a good bet to extend the streak May 8, due in part to African-American congregations like Nations Ford.
A March 23 survey by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh showed that black voters statewide support the measure 61 percent to 30 percent. Whites: 58-38 percent in favor.
More than 80 percent of the state’s African-Americans voters are Democrats. Their support for the amendment represents a rare break with the party’s leaders and civil rights groups.
President Barack Obama, who in 2008 received more than 90 percent of the North Carolina black vote, took the unusual step this year of wading into the amendment debate, calling it discriminatory. Gov. Bev Perdue, all three major Democratic candidates for governor and many other party leaders have also spoken out against it.
The state NAACP has led the fight to defeat the amendment, which would make traditional marriage the only legal union in the state. In Charlotte, political leaders from Harvey Gantt to Mayor Anthony Foxx, both black, also oppose it.
Some black ministers, most prominently the Rev. Ricky Woods of First Baptist Church-West, have spoken
This article originally appeared on: http://www.qcitymetro.com/faith/articles/black_churches_break_with_top_dems_on_gay_marriage033527761.cfm