With a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the near horizon, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention took a strong stance against same-sex marriage Tuesday during the church's annual convention in Columbus, Ohio. He said the nation's biggest Protestant denomination was in the midst of "spiritual warfare" against gay marriage.
The Rev. Ronnie Floyd, in his address to several thousand convention attendees, said the church would not back down in the face of a Supreme Court ruling and shifting public opinion on same-sex marriage. “We are in a spiritual warfare,” Floyd said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This is not a time for Southern Baptists to stand back.”
The Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision sometime before its term ends June 30 on the case that could establish whether the Constitution requires same-sex marriages to be allowed. A Pew poll earlier this month found that 72 percent of people nationwide believe legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable. The poll also found the majority of Americans -- 57 percent -- favor allowing same-sex marriage. Floyd said the decision will be the most significant religion-related decision since Roe v. Wade, the 1973 abortion ruling.
“It would add fuel, more fuel, to the already sweeping wildfire of sexual revolution and move it beyond all control,” he said, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Floyd added that the Bible makes it clear that marriage is between man and a woman and that Baptists should lead on the issue. “The Supreme Court is not the final authority, nor is the culture itself,” Floyd said, according to the paper. “I will not officiate over any same-sex unions or same-sex marriage ceremonies.”
The Southern Baptist Convention boasts a membership of about 16 million, according to AL.com. The organization's website states it "has grown to be a network of more than 50,000 cooperating churches and church-type missions." About 40,000 pastors and church leaders signed a petition earlier this month stating they would resist performing same-sex marriage ceremonies regardless of a Supreme Court decision.