Black clergy from across the country are planning to announce their support for marriage equality in Maryland this week.
The pastors and other clergy, led by the Rev. Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, are hoping that their public display of support will help erase the perception that all black pastors are against marriage for gay couples. “The impression that all African-American pastors are fundamentally opposed to the idea of marriage equality is wrong,” Coates said. They are also hoping to clarify that the legislation does not affect churches and clergy who choose not affirm marriages or perform related ceremonies.
The group is trying to counter black religious leaders, such as Maryland pastor Harry R. Jackson Jr. and the Rev. William Owens, head of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, who have been campaigning against the legislation for months and condemning supporters who say the fight for marriage equality is an extension of the civil rights movement.