Progressive Baptists Rally Support for Gay Marriage Ahead of Nov. Elections

As the same-sex marriage debate intensifies among various Christian denominations in the United States, a group of Baptist progressives is seeking to unite members who oppose the traditional definition of marriage before the November elections.

Several states across the U.S. will vote on upholding traditional marriage on Nov. 6, but before that on July 30 at Northfield, Minnesota's First United Church of Christ, the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists as well as the Alliance of Baptists and Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America will hold a meeting, rallying support for its "Many Voices, One Love" campaign, which seeks to change the traditional definition of marriage.

The meeting is scheduled between July 30 and Aug. 4, and in a way it is a follow-up on the organizations' efforts back in February to sway public opinion in favor of same-sex marriage – a mission that proved unsuccessful in the end, as North Carolina voted to uphold an amendment in its state law that bans gay marriage.

"We began as a dissenting voice in Baptist life more than 25 years ago. For more than 20 years we have affirmed the call and ordination of women in ministry and the full acceptance and embrace of the LGBT community. Today we are the many voices of progressive Christians seeking to respond to the continuing call of God in a rapidly changing world," the Alliance states on its website.

Those in support of traditional marriage, however, such as Ron Baity, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in south Winston-Salem, N.C., have said that the people's votes in North Carolina prevailed to block same-sex marriage.

"Now, the people have spoken," Baitym said. "They have spoken clearly. They have spoken explicitly that marriage in North Carolina is between one man and one woman."

"I know some people may argue that the Bible may not necessarily be applicable, or it should not be applicable, on such policy matters," added Joe Easterling, a Christian from Wake Forest. "But even looking at nature itself, procreation is impossible without a man and a woman. And because of those things, I think it is important that the state of North Carolina's laws are compatible with the laws of nature but, more importantly, the laws of God."