A Texas Senate committee hearing turned into an anti-gay hatefest on Monday.
As we told you last week, state legislators are considering a bill designed to protect clergy and churches from being forced to participate in same-sex weddings.
Pro-LGBT groups including Equality Texas and the ACLU of Texas have said that as long as the bill is crafted narrowly enough, they'd be wiling to support it. However, at the conclusion of Monday's hearing, the author of the Senate version of the bill rejected an amendment proposed by the two groups.
This was after dozens of pastors testified in support of the bill, with some comparing same-sex marriage to adultery, bestiality, domestic abuse, pedophilia and polygamy. Anti-LGBT witnesses also accused gay couples in other states of "bullying," "bigotry" and "hate crimes" for allegedly trying to force pastors to perform their weddings.
"Where are we going to stop with this?" said Bruce Engleman (above left), pastor of the Baptist Temple in Fort Worth. "Let's just get to the chase. Where's it going to stop? I heard of a woman in Florida that married a dog. Am I going to have to perform a wedding ceremony for an animal and a human being? And how can we say, 'Well, we have to marry certain people against our convictions,' and then tell a Mormon who's a fundamental [sic] Mormon, 'Well, we can't marry you because you want to marry two women'? Where is this going to stop? We see as evangelical Christians all over America, our rights are begin stripped every day, and nobody's standing up for our rights, except for a few of you senators, and I appreciate that."
David Joiner (above right), pastor of LifeSprings Church, said same-sex marriage is not marriage because it violates natural law, turns a moral wrong into a civil right, and offends God. Joiner then proclaimed, "I'm not a homophobia [sic]."
"Over the years I believe we've heard of people that want and tried to pass pedophilia," Joiner said. "That's what's in their heart. They bring it up because that's where they lean toward. Just think if it passed one day, and they said, 'Well, you have to marry this 16-year-old boy to this guy' or whatever. We need to take a stand because the moral — they're trying to get it to the gay, we know that, but like I said we preach about love, and nobody would want that for their child for the most part, so we don't want to see a stepping stone for them to get this to pass and then to move on to stuff like that."
Beverly Roberts, area director of Concerned Women for America, said that same-sex couples in states where same-sex marriage is legal are trying to force pastors to perform their weddings.
"Should we not consider these to be hate crimes? Are these not instances of targeted bigotry? Are these couples not engaging in the same bullying tactics they profess to deplore? Why are they attacking a minister when they don't even need him to perform their marriage? So again I ask you, who are the bullies, the bigots and the haters?"
The Senate committee advanced the bill in a 5-1 vote. It now goes to the full Senate. An identical bill was approved by a House committee last week.
Watch testimony from Engleman, Joiner and Roberts, AFTER THE JUMP ...