Local pastors gather in support of amendment that would ban gay marriage in state

Local pastors and politicians gathered at York Baptist Association’sheadquarters this morning to show a united front in urging people to vote "yes"on an amendment that would effectively ban gay marriage in South Carolina.

More than 20 pastors and public officials stood behind the Rev. David Stanford of Clover First Baptist Church, who read a resolution that the association’s members had unanimously approved at the Oct. 26 annual session.

The resolution states that the association encourages citizens to vote yes for an amendment that would define that the only lawful marriage is one between a man and a woman. The amendment to the South Carolina state constitution will be voted on Nov. 7. Seven other states will consider similar amendments this fall.

The association represents 65 churches in and around York County, and represents more than 22,000 church members.

“It boils down to we want to save our culture,” said the Rev. Steve Hogg, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Rock Hill. “More is at stake than just allowing people to behave as they like. Traditional values are at stake.”

Political figures who joined the church representatives included State. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, who is running for Congress, State Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, Rock Hill City Councilman Kevin Sutton, State Sen. Wes Hayes, R-Rock Hill, and York County Sherriff Bruce Bryant. The association invited all political figures to attend.

“This is not about Republican or Democrat,” Hogg said.

It is not a denominational issue either, said the Rev. Herb Crump of Freedom Temple Ministries, who came to the event in support of the amendment.

Hogg said the amendment to the constitution is needed even though there is already a law against gays being married in the state as well as a law that prevents gay marriages performed elsewhere from being recognized in South Carolina.

New Jersey clearly illustrated why the amendment is necessary, Hogg said.

Because the state did not have marriage clearly defined in its constitution, the court was able to rule on it, he siad. Homosexual unions are currently being allowed in New Jersey.

“(The amendment) is the only protection from a liberal court,” Hogg said.