The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts for the win. The influential pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City's Harlem noted that his denomination did not support marriage equality ... but he delivered a passionate defense of equal rights for all Americans.
"It’s something that we don’t believe in, in terms of what we have learned from the Bible," Rev. Butts told ABC’s George Stephanopolous on This Week. "But in terms of men and women having their rights as citizens and human beings, we certainly affirm that."
The pastor and civil rights leader added: "You should have every right as a citizen of this nation and every right as a human being to enjoy the freedom that God has given you. The choice is yours. And I should not stand in the way of you making that choice."
Butts called on the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8. The court heard historic oral arguments on two federal challenges last week. Decisions are expected in June.
Abyssinian Baptist Church was previously headed by Adam Clayton Powell Sr and Adam Clayton Powell Jr..
Rev. Dr. Butts did not endorse President Obama's historic affirmation for equal marriage in May 2012. But at that time, the pastor "denounced those who are ready to 'watch others be discriminated against, marginalized, and literally hated in the name of God,'" reported CNN's Belief Blog.