BALTIMORE - Controversial comments have surfaced in connection with the upcoming vote on same sex marriage in Maryland.
In a taped speech earlier this month, a local pastor said people who engage in homosexual behavior are "worthy of death" and he says, so are people who support them.
The referendum on same sex marriage will appear as "question six" on your ballot when you go to the polls.
The pastor, Robert Anderson of the Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, was on a stage with other speakers at a town hall meeting.
He quotes the bible when he says: "Those who practice such things are deserving of death" Then he continued – "Not only do the same but -- watch this --
For those who also approve of those who practice these things. If we don't vote against it then we are approving these things that are worthy of death."
Supporters of the same sex marriage referendum say that borders on hate speech.
"I think it's totally wrong," said Ezekiel Jackson, of Marylanders for Marriage Equality. "I think it's disrespectful, I think it's mean-spirited, and I think they should apologize for it."
That's not going to happen.
The head of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, Rev. Derek McCoy -- who was seated next to Pastor Anderson in that video, released a statement Wednesday night which reads in part: "Any attempt to imply that Dr. Anderson's reading of scripture was a call to harm gays and lesbians is false and serves as a distraction from the real issues of this campaign."
"You're saying not only are gays and lesbians worthy of death, but those who support them are also worthy of death," Jackson responded. "I don't understand how else you could take that."
Alethia Williams, heads the group "Jump the Broom for Marriage" which is also organizing against the same sex marriage issue. "Everybody has their methods," she said. "I don't think that that is an effective way. Our organization, we come with love and knowledge, God's word and his understanding."
But her group has its own controversial methods -- one of their mailers using features the phrase "My mommy is my daddy my daddy is my mommy but who is my aunt?"
"The people in the state of Maryland are going to vote this out i am sure of that. I mean, God's word is very clear," Williams said.
Full text of response from Rev. Derek McCoy:
Derek McCoy Chairman Maryland Marriage Alliance No on
Question 6 Campaign
Annapolis, Md. – The following statement may be attributed to Derek McCoy, Chairman of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, No on Question 6 Campaign:
"Any attempt to imply that Dr. Anderson's reading of scripture was a call to harm gays and lesbians is false and serves as a distraction from the real issues of this campaign. The Maryland Marriage Alliance No on Question 6 campaign has been and remains focused on explaining to voters the good that marriage does for society, and the consequences that have occurred when marriage has been redefined elsewhere. From the beginning, we have been deeply committed to civility and honor the value of everyone's human rights. Scripture tells us that all God's children are made in His image and likeness, and we are called to speak truth through love. We continue to deplore violence or bullying against any person and or group of people on either side of this issue.
Throughout this campaign, we have been clear that all people are worthy of dignity and respect and that tolerance and acceptance of gay and lesbian friends and family does not mean that marriage should be redefined. There are people of good will on both sides of this issue. We believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and is the foundation of a stable society. Supporting traditional marriage does not make anyone anti-gay."