Rev. William Owens on Opposing President Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Stance

Rev. William Owens on Opposing President Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Stance

The leader of the Coalition of African American Pastors and's Jamilah Lemieux discuss the president's suppot of SSM and why the CAAP won't be campaigning for his second term

Jamilah Lemieux

by Jamilah Lemieux, October 11, 2012

Rev. William Owens on Opposing President Obama's Same-Sex Marriage Stance

Reverend William Owens

Photo courtesy of CNS News

have women who they’ve been in intimate relationships with who didn’t go to college and who don’t provide for their children. So who is the problem in our community?

RO: We're our own problem right now. We are are own problem and we need good moral leadership and I expected that from Obama. Same sex marriage is not [representative of that]...I felt that that one issue was enough to help deteriorate the Black family more than anything else. 

JL: How do you feel that gay relationships have destabilized the Black family or Black community? I don’t see many gay guys gangbanging, you don’t see many gay guys abandoning their children or having the same rate of domestic violence that we see in straight homes. How are they destroying the moral fiber of our families when most of us are not getting married anyway?

RO: I felt the president [was] using his office---the highest office in the land---to endorse something that is not good, and I stand my ground on that he is endorsing something [because of] money first, because of the gay contribution from Hollywood (back and forth) The NAACP did the same thing.

JL: Support for same sex marriage is increasing across the country, across racial lines--- 

RO: If you studied the statistics of every state in the Union,  when [SSM] was voted on, they have lost in every state. One person should not go against the will of the people. Not one state has approved same sex marriage in the United States of America when the people voted.

JL: So where is the outcry?

RO: Why would the president stick his neck out and give his approval of it because you are going to have thousands that follow it because he is powerful he has the most powerful position in the world in the world and why would he go against what the people want?

JL: Why is it that we are not getting a massive outcry from other people? Why is it that all of a sudden, because this one particular politician because he’s a Black man---

Owens: It’s not because he’s Black, we did the same thing with President Bush...if you would talk to us in private, we will tell you our disagreements and we’ll leave with a handshake. We’ll never say anything publically. This president didn’t give us the courtesy of a letter answer. He just ignored us.

JL: I’m just curious to know why it’s so more important to mobilize around this than it is around other things?

Owens: I do mobilize, believe me. I just said I did mobilize around education for 52 years.

JL: But I’m saying that, as somebody who is an editor for a major brand, I’ve never received anything from you that didn’t have to do with gay marriage.

RO: We were ignored when we were getting students in college. The mainstream media, both Black and White, ignored us.

JL: I started getting emails from your publicist once a week, sometimes 3 times a month. If he’d reached out to me to tell me that you all were out registering people to vote, that you all were getting people registered for school, that you were working on immunizations, that you all were doing something around the prison industrial complex...and all these other things that have tangible impacts on Black people's lives, I promise you that you would have gotten coverage because that is the type of narrative that is too often missing from the Black church in the news.

RO: Well, I have sent several myself several news releases...I have been in the trenches working hard for years.

JL: Getting back to the president, you are aware that there is a separation between church and state and that this country owes nothing to your Bible because it has people here that are both "believers” and “non believers” and to say that this person is wrong for supporting something because of what is found isn't fair because he is not a religious leader.

RO: Then he should have stayed out of moral issues.

JL: It’s a legal issue, marriage is a function...

RO: No, it’s a political issue, it is a political issue.

JL: He’s a politician.

RO: Right, and I think on this issue he was on the wrong, I think he was on the wrong side of this issue and we have supported him. We have supported him with our money, we have supported him with campaigning, we have supported him from the ground up.

JL: Will you continue to support him with your money and your vote?

RO: As I said, we have never told anyone not to vote for President Obama.

JL: Have you told anyone to vote for him? Have you supported him in this election cycle?

RO: No,  we have not done that…

JL: Why is that?

RO: We are not going to take a position, we are not going to say 'don’t vote for him,'

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