Civil Rights activist Reverend Bill Owens has joined with the National Organization for Marriage to promote and lead the March for Marriage occurring in Washington, D.C. next month.
“Gay activists are wrong to claim the mantle of the civil rights movement in their push to redefine marriage for all – the most important civil right related to marriage is the right of every child to a mother and father,” said Rev. Owens in a Feb. 25 statement.
Owens is the founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, a group that describes itself as “a grass-roots movement of Christians who believe in traditional family values such as supporting the role of religion in American public life, protecting the lives of the unborn, and defending the sacred institution of marriage.”
He also was a participant in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s in Nashville Tennessee.
The March for Marriage will occur on March 26 in D.C. as oral arguments on two cases challenging the legality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act begin before the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless of the outcome, these cases are expected to be landmark on the issue of gay marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage is also sponsoring the march, alongside several other organizations such as the Family Research Council, the American Principles Project, and Catholic Family and Human Rights.
“We plan to rally at the National Mall and march to the Supreme Court to stand up for the true civil rights movement and against these new efforts to claim an unthinkable right – the 'right' to redefine marriage for everyone,” Rev. Owens said.
In his statement, the pastor touched on the dissonance between the Civil Rights Movement and the push for the institutionalization of same-sex “marriage,” stressing that the “most important” civil right is the one of children, who are entitled to both a father and mother.
“I marched in the civil rights movement, and I did not walk a single step for gay marriage when I marched for civil rights,” he recalled.
“I will march again and the Coalition of African American pastors will march to honor the civil rights movement and to honor the sacred institution of marriage.”