The president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, the Rev. Bill Owens, is calling on Christians to not participate in gay marriage ceremonies by "refusing to obey unjust laws" in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
Owens, who held a press conference in Dallas on Tuesday where he was joined by other prominent conservative leaders who support traditional marriage, said Christians in all areas of society should stand up and defend their constitutional rights.
"We are calling on Christians and people of faith in all areas of society, especially those in leadership positions, to refuse to obey unjust laws that have legalized same-sex unions, and to join our movement [called Real Marriage] that will take back our Constitution and our rights," said Owens in a statement posted on Facebook prior to the press conference.
Among the leaders joining Ownes' movement are the president of Campaign for Texas Families, Steve Hotze, and licensed marriage and family therapist of the Children's Center for Healthy Gender and Sexuality, David Pickup.
"We, along with 20 other leaders from major churches, politicians and laypersons from around Texas and other states have joined together and just started this new movement which is called Real Marriage. One man and one woman for life," said Pickup, a counselor who specializes in reparative therapy, to The Christian Post.
Pickup told CP that the movement was created to "take back what was taken from us with the Supreme Court's decision on homosexual marriage only two weeks ago."
"We're here to say that we're going to influence over 300,000 people who are being mobilized to attend world conferences on gender, sexuality and marriage," he continued. "[These people] are going to be marching in the streets and taking back our rights, which are very close to being taken away, including religious rights and freedom of speech."
Pickup added that the movement will aim to re-establish "what it means to be secure in one's gender" and "what it means to be in marriage," according to the Judeo-Christian worldview.
During a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, last month hosted by the CAAP, Owens threatened civil disobedience if the Supreme Court decision did not rule in favor of traditional marriage.
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"If they rule for same-sex marriage, then we're going to do the same thing we did for the civil rights movement," said Owens. "We will not obey an unjust law. The politicians and courts have tried to take God out of this country. This country was founded on Godly principles. We will not stand back."
The president of the Pastor's Council in Houston, the Rev. David Welch, also spoke at the conference and explained the lengths people of faith will go to resist gay marriage.
"God created marriage between a man and woman and no Supreme Court jurisdiction can define this," said Welch. "We stand, clearly saying we will acknowledge God's law no matter what the cost, no matter what the price. If they want to fill jails with pastors across the nation of every color, denomination and every size, we will stand for the laws of God and his truths."
"If it comes down to declining to perform same-sex weddings, that we will be charged with a civil or criminal penalty, then we will accept the penalty," he explained. "But this isn't just about the wedding ceremony itself. This is a core, fundamental issue of our First Amendment freedom that the court is toying with right now. Either we have the right to freedom of conscience and religion and the freedom to practice it, or we don't."