Same-Sex Marriage and the Black Church

Same-Sex Marriage and the Black Church


When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a same sex marriage bill into law in late June, New York became the largest state to legalize gay marriage. New York joined Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont and other states, which honor the marriages with marriage licenses.

While many in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community celebrate the law, church communities continue to grapple with touchy issues of homosexuality, gay marriage and gay parenting from the pulpit.

Politic365 spoke with church leaders regarding gay marriage and civil unions. Elder Toby “Tobias” Johnson and Pastor Henry Tolbert were interviewed.

Elder Toby “Tobias” Johnson is an associate pastor at Zarephath Tabernacle in Jacksonville, Florida.

Elder Toby “Tobias” Johnson


Politic365: Is it really offensive to have the title “marriage” associated with same sex unions?

Johnson: “I think it is offensive because when you think of marriage you think of God’s holy order in terms of what He’s pleased with. A lot of people are married that God is not pleased with. That’s why the Scripture says, ‘whom the Lord has joined together. A lot of people who are married (are in) heterosexual marriages that the Lord did not put together. Marriage is between males and females…

Politic365: Do you believe that gay couples should have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, with regard to parenting, making decisions on the deathbed etc.?

Johnson: “I don’t think they should have the same rights because for children… It confuses them… How is it that Sally who you go to school with has a mother and a father? … But, you have a mother and a mother or a father and a father?”

Politic365: Should churches attempt to psychologically rewire gay people, like with the Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s husband and his gay therapy clinic?

Johnson: “I don’t think it is our place to try to rewire someone. But… people tend to believe what they read. (He said that if people read Scriptures, rather than relying on personal upbringings or beliefs, they will see that homosexuality is not of God.) …We’ve gotten as a nation too bent on ‘I have a right,’ ‘I have a choice.’ But, what is that right, what is that choice consistent with? We as believers in the Christian community… We try to make them consistent with the word of God.”

Pastor Henry Tolbert started the Church of the C.H.A.M.P.I.O.N.S. in Grambling, Louisana.

Pastor Henry Tolbert

Politic365: What’s your stance on gay marriage?

Tolbert: “Being in my line of work, we love everybody. We are accepting of all people… But from a Biblical standpoint, gay marriage is not something that we support. We are tolerant. We have several people (in the church) … who are in the lesbian and gay lifestyle.”

Politic365: Should gay couples have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples with regard to wills, parenting, making decisions for each other on the death bed and the like?

Tolbert: “I don’t support the legal unions of gay marriage from that standpoint… All people are welcome to Constitutional rights…(But) I have had to deal with several instances of children who are battling identity crises now because they came up in a household where that was something that was introduced to them and it wasn’t something that they wanted. It was something that was kind of pushed onto them. From that standpoint, I’m not really too supportive of that.”

Politic365: What’s your opinion on psychological attempts to rewire gay people to become straight? Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s husband has a gay therapy clinic. Can people be “de-gayed?”

Tolbert: (Laughs) “I don’t think it’s a situation where we have to deprogram people… (or) send them to a clinic to deprogram them because if that were a case, I think we would need to have a clinic for every other issue that people face in society. So I really don’t support isolating that one issue and just attacking it as though it’s an epidemic. But, I do think that really healing and loving people is the answer to every issue that we find.”


  1. I agree completely with both pastors views. As a people, we need to heal from so many ills and the gay lifestyle is one of them. To pretend that a gay or lesbian lifestyle is ok, is to mock God.

  2. I need one more "person" telling me what "GOD THINKS" like I need one more GOD telling me what a human being expresses him or herself as… Talk about marriage or talk about gay or talk about human beings, but stop saying you know what God says when we are all created by the CREATOR.

  3. The black church ought to get its own house in order when it comes to black families. Deal with your divorce rate and your out of wedlock birthrate and AIDS before you come judging gay relationships. A bigot of color is still a bigot.

  4. Okay, so both of these "ministers or pastors" are making themselves known as authorities on the Holy Bible.
    I would like to have one of them quote to me the EXACT book, chapter and verse where it says "‘whom the Lord has joined together. A lot of people who are married (are in) heterosexual marriages that the Lord did not put together. " The book they are "quoting from" also approves of slavery (your right to be free???) Concubines are an okay for men whose wives cannot bear children (mainly referring to females) How about in the case of adultery stoning to death. These are all in the Holy Bible and I can give you the exact book, chapter and verse.
    You are both Negro, more than likely from ancestry of slavery but you are free today because of a civil right, the civil right to vote, and free to misquote the Holy Bible.
    I am a Christian, I am a homosexual, I am in a long term (10 yr) monogmous relationship and would be married if law permitted. I FIRMLY believe what Christ said, "love your neighbor as yourself". If you cannot love your neighbor how can you love yourself.
    Peace to you brothers

  5. Bobber, You have made a valid observation regarding the difference between a wedding and a marriage. Let us assume for a moment that a ‘real” marriage occurs when “god has joined together” two people. At many weddings, it is traditional to leave the god part right out of it, and affirm otherwise… “WE HAVE COME TOGETHER TODAY TO JOIN THIS COUPLE IN “holy matrimony”.” WE ARE GOING TO DO IT!! US!!! ONCE I JOINED MYSELF TO A HALF GALLON OF OLD #7 WHISKEY, but it was just me doing the joining, had little to do with god’s plan for my life. My advice to all, better get married before you arrange a wedding.