Robert Anderson, pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Md., recently made headlines for saying that people who support legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland are worthy of death, and is standing by his remarks despite the criticism.
"Those who practice such things are worthy of death," said Anderson at a recent town hall meeting that took place to address an upcoming vote to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland. "If we don't vote against it, then we are approving these things that are worthy of death."
The minister defended his statements in an NBC Washington report where he spoke about strictly referencing the Holy Bible.
"That's not my words," he told NBC. "That's from Romans Chapter 1 written by the Apostle Paul himself."
The Baltimore Sun reports that the pastor read from the Romans passage before making his remarks at the town hall meeting.
Anderson said he wanted to make it clear that gays and lesbians were not the only people putting themselves at risk, but that their supporters would also suffer the same fate.
"Listen to the last verse, 'Knowing the righteous judgment of God that those who practice such things are deserving of death. Not only do the same' – but watch this – 'for those who also approve of those who practice these things,'" Anderson told NBC. "If we don't vote against it, then we are approving these things that are worthy of death."
However, some have spoken out against Anderson and his biblical views. Sultan Shakir, a member of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, called the Baptist pastor's statements inappropriate.
"We really think that it was very inappropriate for the Maryland Marriage Alliance to hold a panel where they used the words 'worthy of death' to describe gay and lesbian couples," Shakir told NBC.
Still, some people have been vocal about their support for Anderson's views. Ronjour Locke, pastor of First Baptist Church of Brooklyn, took to his Twitter page to call for prayer in support of Anderson.
"Please pray for Rev. Robert Anderson and all MD pastors defending God's pattern for marriage," Locke tweeted. "Give us courage, Lord."
At the town hall meeting, Anderson sat on a platform alongside three other men, including Derek McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, a grassroots non-partisan interfaith organization encouraging voters to uphold traditional marriage in the state.
The Baltimore Sun reported that, previous to Anderson's remarks, "McCoy and the official opposition to same-sex marriage have been careful to say they do not oppose gays or all gay rights – they just object to extending marriage rights" to gays and lesbians.