msnbc | May 01, 2012
>>> over marriage equality goes to a vote in north carolina next week. what's at stake is a constitutional amendment to make traditional marriage between a man and a woman the only legal union in is that that state. and a new tv ad is pushing that very message. take a look.
>> marriage has been one man and one woman since before north carolina was a state. it's what god created to give children a mother and a father. by defining marriage in the state constitution , only voters can determine what marriage means. everyone, gay or straight, is free to live as they choose. but nobody has the right to redefine marriage. 30 other states have voted to protect marriage. this is our turn. vote for the marriage protection amendment .
>> vote for marriage nc --
>> for african-american churchgoers this issue creates a quandary. while some religious leaders urge their congregations to stick with traditions, some high-profile ministers are speaking out against it to promote tolerance. ricky woods is a senior minister of first baptist church west and opposes this amendment . great to have you here. some say this issue has created this divide among african-american believers. on one side there's this desire to see political and social justice enacted. on the other side there's a desire to keep what is perceived traditional and moral values intact. how does that affect your role as a church leader in this debate when people are coming to you looking for guidance?
>> well, there are two issues, thomas, for me. one is there is of course the issue of faith that the church deals with, but then there are the issues as a citizen in a democratic republic . i am saddened that this issue has been shaped in such a way where religion is being used to define something that should be done by the state. this is very troubling to me. the founding fathers were very care to feel say that we would have separation of church and state . i think this amendment infringes upon that.
>> so there are many advocates for same-sex marriage. a group called protect all families, they oppose amendment one and say this really is a civil rights issue. a lot of people will know it was only a little over 40 years ago that north carolina accepted interracial marriage . it's rally proving that this amendment essentially making discrimination legal or that would be the opposition's argument to this. how do african- american church leaders reconcile that fact against history?
>> well, that's a difficult question to fully answer. i come down on the side of it really being a justice issue. we should not be putting discrimination into our laws against any particular group regardless of how we feel about what their choices are. they should be free to choose. as a person of faith, i believe that god has created us all as free-will agents with the right to choose, and none of us should be trying to play god in the life of someone else for the choices they make.
>> sir, what do you think is going to happen when voters go out to the polls on may the 8th?
>> i think it's going to be very, very close. but what is interesting, the own speaker of the house in north carolina has said that if this amendment passes he believes it will be repealed. there is enough information out there to also talk about how if this amendment passes how it could impact business community and jobs in north carolina . and given the condition of our economy and our state and our nation, we have other issues that are far more important than amendment one.
>> we will continue to watch and see how it all plays out. first baptist pastor ricky woods. thanks for your