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Gipson: Gay marriage coming to Mississippi

Turning tide — Protesters and marchers participate in a rally at Los Angeles’ City Hall protesting the passing of California’s Proposition 8 banning same sex marriage. Not only has Proposition 8 since been overturned, legalized same-sex marriage is on a trajectory to become law in 35 states. (Gerry Boughan / Shutterstock.com)

WASHINGTON (BP and local reports) — Legalized same-sex marriage is on a trajectory to become law in 35 states, and a Baptist pastor who also serves in the Mississippi Legislature warns the state’s residents should prepare for the worst.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear appeals of lower federal court rulings favorable to same sex marriage, which had the effect of legalizing same sex marriage in several states. The most recent blow came Oct. 7, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down a pair of state laws that limited marriage to a man and a woman.

The appeals court’s ruling is expected to take effect in three other states within its jurisdiction that had similar traditional marriage laws.

Mississippi House of Representatives member Andy Gipson, an attorney and bivocational pastor of Gum Springs Church in Braxton, is a graduate of Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College in Clinton and the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. He is chair of the House’s Judiciary B Committee.

“I am opposed to same-sex marriage, but I believe the time has come for people of faith in Mississippi to prepare for the overturning of our constitutional ban on it,” Gipson told The Clarion Ledger newspaper in Jackson on Oct. 9.

“I’ve said that preaching at my church,” Gipson said in the article by Geoff Pender. “It’s coming. People of religious conviction need to be processing what this means for the culture, and how we will respond to these issues in coming years – how we will maintain our religious convictions in this environment.”

Andrew Walker, a Southern Baptist public policy specialist, said with sadness the effort to “redefine marriage is perhaps the fastest, most effective social change in our nation’s history… The furthered erosion or deinstitutionalization of marriage that comes by redefining it will re-wire or re-circuit how we understand family arrangements.”

The Supreme Court’s decision not to review the lower-court opinions means citizens “now have a more diminished role in making important decisions about the meaning of marriage and family,” said Walker, director of policy studies for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

While the high court’s orders leave same sex marriage a matter within the states, Walker wrote in an Oct. 6 blog post, “Even within the states, the signs are discouraging. Increasingly, marriage’s definition is coming from the courts within these states and circuits, rather than through citizens. [The Supreme Court’s action] reinforces the troubling trend that individual states and [their] citizens are left unprotected from the actions of judges that view themselves as Philosopher-Kings.”

Same sex marriage will be one of the topics at the ERLC’s national conference Oct. 27-29 in Nashville. The conference is titled “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.”

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