An anti-gay marriage rally to be held today in front of Washington DC’s Council offices will “launch the Armageddon of the marriage battle in this country”, its organiser has claimed.

Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Bowie has said he expects over 1,000 church members to show up at the protest to argue that gay marriage is an affront to citizens and especially those of African-American origin.

Speaking to the Washington Post, he said: “There’s a sense that the latte-drinking crowd is doing an end run around the regular people.

“It’s a race and a class struggle on this. If 51 per cent of the people in DC are African-American and you have a unanimous vote by the city council on this, somebody’s not listening to the people.”

The Bishop has claimed that the media has painted the anti-gay marriage issue as being antithetical to civil rights, saying some black ministers feel their views have been ignored.

An anti-gay marriage protest scheduled last week didn’t materialise, but Jackson claims this was just a glitch.

The Bishop, whose church is in Maryland although he lives in DC, added he had no problem with recruiting out-of-town supporters to the rally.

Earlier this month, the Washington DC council voted unanimously to recognise gay marriages performed in other states.

Previously, gay couples who were married in other states were recognised as domestic partners when they moved to DC but the measure, it passes a final vote next month, means their unions will be recognised as marriages.

In a statement, DC mayor Adrian Fenty said he looked forward to signing the bill.

The bill will require that married same-sex couples must be accorded the same benefits as those received by married straight couples.