A church opposed to gay marriage participated in Wednesday's
ceremonies honoring the 1963 March on Washington.
President Barack Obama and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill
Clinton, all of whom support marriage equality, were among those who
helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin
Luther King Jr.'s seminal I Have a Dream speech.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Destiny Church,
an evangelical church from New Zealand, sent 12 male dancers to
perform a traditional Maori dance called the haka.
Nine years ago, the church organized a string of huge protests
against proposed legislation aimed at legalizing marriage for gay
couples. The island nation approved such a law earlier this year.
Zealand gay marriage law takes effect Monday.)
“[W]e do not support gay marriage from the Biblical standpoint,”
Richard Lewis, manager for the Destiny Church haka dancers, told the
Wall Street Journal, “but we believe people are free to make
what lifestyle choices they please.”
In addressing the crowd, Obama said gay rights were part of the
legacy of the March on Washington.
“Because they marched, America became more free and more fair –
not just for African Americans, but for women and Latinos, Asians and
Native Americans; for Catholics, Jews, and Muslims; for gays, for
Americans with a disability. America changed for you and for me.
And the entire world drew strength from that example, whether the
young people who watched from the other side of an Iron Curtain and
would eventually tear down that wall, or the young people inside
South Africa who would eventually end the scourge of apartheid,”
Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight
Education Network, said she was glad that the dancers “were there
to hear loud and clear how many speakers on that stage embraced the
LGBT community as part of this common struggle.”