A coalition of Richmond-area pastors says Richmond's City Council is overstepping its authority by considering an ordinance that would grant benefits to spouses of city workers in same-sex marriages.
The pastors say the state Constitution is clear in its definition of a marriage being between one man and one woman—which is also as the New Testament defines it.
Bishop Leon Benjamin, the Senior Pastor of New Life Harvest Church in Richmond's Southside, says the religious leaders are standing to protect and defend the rights of marriage, and more specifically the state Constitution. He says as pastors, their goal is to protect children. But gay rights advocate Bill Harrison doesn’t think the purpose of marriage is procreation. Harrison says while many marry for love, not all--including heterosexual couples--marry to have children.
If it passed, the ordinance would be symbolic since the state would need to enact enabling legislation. The debate will continue, especially since all three Democratic statewide candidates have vowed to expand gay rights in Virginia, while the GOP candidates have said they will defend the current language of the Constitution.