A Michigan pastor and anti-LGBT activist successfully stopped a non-discrimination bill because he feels LGBT people haven't suffered the exact same indignities as Black people have.
When a judge ruled in May that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, a group of Black Christian pastors joined together to denounce the ruling at a lively press conference arrangedÂ byÂ a coalition of well-known religious non-profits.
â€œYou are my enemy! Anybody thatâ€™s an enemy of God is an enemy of mine,â€ declared Pastor Roland Caldwell of the Burnette Inspiration Baptist Church of Detroit. â€œAnd now the fight is on! Weâ€™ve come together to say, â€˜Hell no. Weâ€™re not going to sit back.â€™â€
Rev. Stacy Swimp of Flint, Michigan told the audience that same-sex marriage will â€œdestroy the backbone of our society.â€
Yesterday, Pastor Swimp was back on the public stage, this time offering his opinion at the Michigan State House. Same-sex marriage wasn't the topic, but a statewide non-discrimination ordinance was.
Labeling the bill "yet another step in the assault on religious freedom," Pastor Swimp demanded of lawmakers,Â "can you truly define sexual orientation? Do you truly know what you are potentially aligning yourselves with?"
Swimp, calling being LGBT a "choice of sexual behavior,"Â made clear his mistaken belief that the civil rights movement is only for African Americans.Â
â€œThereâ€™s a comparison between the homosexual allegation of gay rights and black civil rights,â€ Swimp railed. â€œAnd as a minister of the Gospel, and as a black American whose parents participated in the Freedom Rides â€” my ancestors were slaves in plantations in the state of South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Indiana and Mississippi â€” I stand here today rather offended.â€ And he called the non-discrimination bill one "that would grant special privileges, guarantee special protections, or grant special status" to LGBT people.
â€œI ask, has anyone from the LGBT community ever had to stand up or step off of the sidewalk whenever a straight person walked by? Lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender Americans have never been denied their voting rights, nor have they been denied the right to assemble. No one from the LGBT community has ever had fire hoses turned on them by the police department, they have never had to drink out of an LGBT water fountain. There is no record of LGBT â€” homosexuals, lesbians being forced to sit at the back of the bus in an LGBT section.â€
Raw Story's David Edwards, who reported on Swimp's performanceÂ today, notes that "Swimp argued that LGBT Americans already enjoyed a higher annual median income and employment rate than that of African-Americans."Â
At the conclusion of Swimpâ€™s testimony, [Rep.] Foster pointed out that it was wrong to imply that Americans did not face discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
â€œIf you donâ€™t think the LGBT community has been discriminated against, been drug behind cars, been hung up by their necks to theyâ€™re dead, been denied housing, been denied commerce opportunities then youâ€™re just not looking very far,â€ Foster observed.
â€œCan you cite one legal case in which a homosexual, a lesbian has been subject to discrimination and denied housing â€” supported by the public policy â€” potentially discriminated against, and set at the back of the restaurant?â€ Swimp asked.
â€œDid you listen to the ACLUâ€™s testimony? Because Iâ€™ll be happy to bring them back up again,â€ Foster replied.
â€œI just want to remind you of the lynching of Matthew Shepard,â€ state Rep. Henry Yanez (D) said to applause.