A group of several black congregations will be holding a vigil against same-sex marriage in Maryland, a state that will be holding a referendum on the issue in November.
Organized by the National Black Church Initiative, the vigil will take place in Baltimore on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The Rev. Anthony Evans, president of NBCI, told The Christian Post that this vigil was the first of many to be held throughout the state leading up to the November election.
"We are going to hold a series of vigils all across Maryland up until the election. We are determined to gather an army of Christians who believe that biblical marriage is between one man and one woman," said Evans.
"And we are going to defeat same-sex marriage and we are going to continue to defeat that around the country."
Evans explained that NBCI had the support of over a hundred churches in Maryland as well as "the commitment of over 8,000 volunteers."
"These 8,000 volunteers are committed to defeating same-sex marriage and to defeating any candidate who supports same-sex marriage," said Evans. "So when they go to the polls, they will go down the list after voting against same-sex marriage just to vote against any candidate and that includes President Obama."
Evans stressed that he and his allies were not Republicans but Democrats and had other reasons for opposing Obama including his foreign policy decisions and failure to reduce black unemployment.
In 2011, Democratic leaders in Maryland including Governor Martin O'Malley unsuccessfully sought to legalize same-sex marriage through the legislature. The bill failed, in part because of opposition from black Democratic legislators.
In February, the bill was brought back and passed by a vote of 72 to 67 in the Maryland House of Delegates and passed in the Senate by a vote of 25 to 22. In March, Governor O'Malley signed the bill into law, making Maryland the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage.
"After years of hard work, we signed a bill into law that protects individual civil marriage rights and religious freedom equally," wrote O'Malley in a Huffington Post entry. "We are a people of many different religions and many different faiths. The only way forward in a pluralistic society of diverse faiths such as ours is to have laws that protect and respect the freedom of all, equally."
After O'Malley signed the bill into law, efforts were launched to hold a referendum on the marriage definition and by July 110,000 Marylanders had signed a petition calling for the referendum. At present, the specific language of the ballot initiative was not yet been finalized.
Maryland is not the only state that will have a referendum on marriage definition come November. Washington State will also have its recently passed same-sex marriage legislation put to a vote while voters in Maine will consider a measure that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Finally, Minnesota will hold a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between one man and one woman.