Viri Hernandez, Undocumented Activist, Criticizes District 8 Candidate Pastor Warren Stewart For Stance of Gay Issues
"I think he freely admits that as a Baptist minister, 'Same-sex marriage in the church is not something I'm going to be able to do," Phelps says. "But when it comes to civil unions and all the benefits, his view is that, 'I'm there for you, and I'll fight with you.'"
Stewart, senior pastor of the First Institutional Baptist Church, came under fire from the LGBT community for a letter he wrote after President Barack Obama publicly supported same-sex marriage.
However, he did acknowledge, in an early speech he gave, the struggles of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, just as he did those of the undocumented.
"Let's face it, we have things to talk about," Stewart said in his speech, including pathways to citizenship among those things. "We need to reach out to the Latino community and the LGBT community - and make their challenges our own."
To my friends in the LGBT community, I tell you today, as I would have told you yesterday, that anyone who wants to deny you and your partner medical benefits, adoption rights, hospital visitation rights, or if anyone wants to discriminate against you when it comes to housing or employment, you will have to take that fight through me."
Yes, I know, as a Baptist minister, I may not perform a same-sex wedding at my church.
Most people really do understand that. But outside the church, if you want to talk about Civil Unions, like our friends in Bisbee did ... I will come to that table. I will have that conversation. I will reach out to you."
(Bisbee has become the first Arizona city to legalize same-sex marriage.)
Hernandez says plainly that Stewart is "no champion for justice."