MEMPHIS, Tenn.–The Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP), which includes major leaders of the Black church and civil rights leaders who marched with Rev. Martin Luther King, blasted the board of the NAACP for its endorsement of same-sex marriage. Last week, CAAP launched a 100000signatures4marriage.com petition in support of traditional marriage.

“The NAACP has abandoned its historic responsibility to speak for and safeguard the Civil Rights Movement,” said Rev. William Owens, founder and resident of CAAP. “We who marched with Rev. King did not march one inch or one mile to promote same-sex marriage.”

Owens pointed to Rev. King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,” in which he laid down what makes a civil rights violation: “How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: ‘An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.’”

“Same-sex marriage is an attempt to do the opposite of what Rev. King did,” said Owens. “It’s an attempt by men to use political power to declare that an act contrary to God’s law and to the natural law is a civil right. By paying homage to worldly political power and not to God’s law, the men and women in the NAACP who voted to endorse gay marriage as a civil right have brought dishonor on themselves. We will not stand by and let our beloved Civil Rights Movement be hijacked without a fight.

“Our only weapons in this fight are the weapons of Rev. King: truth and love and courage. We call on all Americans to respect the legitimate civil rights of gay people to be free from violence, harassment, to vote, to hold jobs. But none of us has a moral or civil right to redefine marriage.”

The Coalition of African American Pastors held an historic press conference last week in Memphis, the city where Rev. King was killed.

Hundreds of African Americans have flocked to 100000signatures4marriage.com to sign the marriage pledge.

The Coalition of African American Pastors is a grass-roots movement of African American Christians who believe in traditional family values such as supporting the role of religion in American public life, protecting the lives of the unborn and defending the sacred institution of marriage.

For more information, contact Jameson Cunning-ham with Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at jcunningham@sbpublicaffairs.com or (703) 739-5920.