Former President Jimmy Carter, 89, spoke out for gay rights at the Michigan Grand Rapids Community College last week.
“I never knew of any word or action of Jesus Christ that discriminated against anyone,” Carter said when asked how his views on humanity and human rights work with his Christian religion. “And the sexual orientation of a person is just like the color of their skin or whether they are rich or poor or whether they live in a foreign country or our country.”
Carter said he believes any depriving of rights violates the Constitution.
“I think discrimination against anyone and depriving them of actual rights in the United States is a violation of the basic principles of the Constitution that all of us revere in this country.”
Carter teaches Sunday School at Georgia’s Marantha Baptist Church and said he believes gay people should have the right to marriage, though he said the government shouldn’t force ministers to preform same-sex marriage if it would violate their church doctrine.
“I’m a Baptist, and I believe that each congregation is autonomous and can govern its own affairs,” he told the Huffington Post in 2012. “So if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does by the way, then that is fine. If a church decides not to, then the government laws shouldn’t require them to.”