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— Religious opponents of gay marriage are ramping up their efforts to block its legalization in Michigan and other states.

A coalition of black pastors and supporters said Tuesday it will file legal briefs in more than 80 court cases involving lawsuits to legalize gay marriage.

The group announced its plans during a news conference Tuesday at the Marriott Hotel near Metro Airport.

Minister Stacy Swimp, a Flint pastor, said he also wants to see a boycott against black-owned media and the NAACP for supporting gay marriage.

Swimp said the NAACP, the nation’s largest civil rights organization, has become a “morally bankrupt” organization “which has sold our civil rights for gay rights.”

“Who gave you permission to say Dr. King took a bullet for gay rights?” he said.

In May 2012, NAACP officials approved a resolution supporting gay marriage.

“The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure the political, social and economic equality of all people,” Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the board of directors of the NAACP said in a statement issued that month. “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people.” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, then president and CEO of the NAACP.

Swimp said the coalition’s members will speak out against “activist” judges who have ruled in favor of lifting states’ voter-approved bans on gay marriage.

“We decided there was no way we were going to be silenced when a judge has threatened our rights,” Swimp said during the news conference, organized by the coalition and the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center, which is filing the amicus briefs on the pastors’ behalf.

Supporters, opponents and observers are awaiting a ruling any day by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on several same-sex marriage cases, including one from Michigan.

A three-judge panel at the court heard arguments last month in the cases, including a challenge brought by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two Hazel Park nurses who are seeking to marry and adopt each others’ special-needs adopted children.

In March, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that Michigan’s ban on gay marriages is unconstitutional. The state appealed Friedman’s ruling.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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