Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
A California church is planning to put up a billboard in west Charlotte, offering an apology to homosexuals for North's Carolina's vote in support of Amendment One.
The amendment, passed on May 8, defines marriage between a man and woman as the only union legally recognized in the state.
The billboard will stand off Billy Graham Parkway near Interstate 85. It's paid for by the Missiongathering Christian Church in San Diego.
The billboard will read, "Missiongathering Christian Church is sorry for the narrow-minded, judgmental, deceptive, manipulative actions of those who DENIED rights and equality TO so many in the Name of God."
Eyewitness News spoke with church leaders via Skype today, who said they first displayed a similar billboard in San Diego in 2008, after the Prop 8 marriage amendment passed in California.
After Amendment One passed in North Carolina, images of their old billboard resurfaced online and went viral.
Alex Roller, one of the church's pastors, said, "As we began receiving emails and phone calls thanking us being encouraged by it from all across the country, even Canada, then we thought what if we put up the billboard again in response to Amendment One, not in San Diego but there in North Carolina."
David Hains with the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte said he disagrees with what the church's billboard represents and says the voters of North Carolina took a clear stance on defining marriage as between a man and woman.
"I'm proud of what the people of North Carolina have done and what they said on May 8," said Hains. "It's disappointing that Christians would call people names, but I have no apologies for what the people of North Carolina said."
The church is now collecting donations in hopes of adding billboards around the city, including uptown Charlotte. Their goal is to keep the billboards up for as long as possible, which means they could be standing when the Democratic National Convention comes to town in September. It's an idea Ralph Belk with the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party supports.
"We were very much against the amendment and felt like it was an attack on civil rights," said Belk. "Anyone who's willing to help us continue that conversation and show that there is support still for civil rights I'm in favor of that."
The church fronted the money for the $3,000 billboard. But will be collecting donations online to keep the billboard up longer. For now, it's scheduled to stay up for three weeks.
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