Bishop Roderick Caesar, 53, thinks he was 17 or 18 when a friend confessed, "I am in the life," meaning he was homosexual. Caesar sat with his friend and prayed. "I told him I would be his friend until the day he died. I also told him I would pray that he would not find happiness."

Caesar, pastor of Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Jamaica, Queens, helped organize a rally against gay marriage at City Hall on March 29 with the 400-church City Covenant Coalition, led by Puerto Rican-Italian Joseph Mattera. Earlier, on March 14, more than 8,000 Hispanic evangelicals converged in the Bronx for the nation's largest rally to date against gay marriage. One of the speakers was a white Assemblies of God pastor.

In New York City and elsewhere, African American and Hispanic pastors are facing off against a large homosexual-rights contingent over the issue of gay marriage. For Christian leaders steeped in personal compassion, the confrontation is full of anguish, fear, and anger.

When the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts ordered gay marriage to become state law this month, local black and Hispanic clergy associations quickly joined in protest (CT, April, p. 90). A month later, African American pastors, organized by the Los Angeles- based Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), and in association with the Family Research Council, came from across the country to support their beleaguered colleagues.

"This is a line in the sand for black churches across the nation," said CURE founder Star Parker.

The Alliance for Marriage (AFM), which advocates a constitutional amendment to protect marriage, released a poll on March 4 showing that 63 percent of Hispanics and 62 percent of African Americans support an amendment defining marriage as ...

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