Black and Latino Faith Leaders Speak Out in Support of Marriage for Gay Couples and President Obama

Black and Latino Faith Leaders Speak Out in Support of Marriage for Gay Couples and President Obama

With President Barack Obama’s recent announcement of support for same-sex marriage, GLAAD today is urging both local and national media to highlight the voices of supportive African-American and Latino clergy who feel that all loving couples should be able to marry, regardless of sexual orientation. These beliefs are not tied to party affiliation, and speak to the evolution of people of faith, including clergy, on this issue. 

A 2010 Bendixen & Amandi International poll found 74 percent of Latinos support marriage equality or other forms of legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples. Similarly, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in March 2012 showed support for marriage equality among African Americans at 50 percent. A Field Poll of California voters released in February 2012 found that 53 percent of Latino and 50 percent of African-American respondents approved of allowing same-sex couples to marry. A Public Religion Research Institute poll found that a majority of Latino Catholics and a third of Black protestants support marriage equality.

We ask that any journalist who is reporting on these stories consider including the following supportive voices:

Rev. William Barber, (North Carolina)  President, North Carolina NAACP and pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church Disciples of Christ, Goldsboro, NC 120 year old congregation with over 400 members and 30 active ministries. He is an Adjunct Instructor at NCCU, Master of Public Administration and Duke Divinity Masters Program and author has written one book entitled “Preaching Through Unexpected Pain.”. Rev. Dr. Barber earned a Master of Divinity Degree, Duke University School of Divinity where he was a Dean Scholar, Benjamin Mays Fellow and his Ph.D from Drew University in Madison, NJ.

Rev. Roland Stringfellow, (Berkeley) Since 1990, Rev. Stringfellow has a been a licensed minister in the Baptist Church. Roland has also worked in education as a teacher, guidance counselor, college advisor and vice principal. Currently Rev. Stringfellow continues the dialogue on LGBT equality with church congregations and in religious institutions in his role as director of ministerial outreach with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Sexuality at the Pacific School of Religion. He has been consulted about the relationship between marriage equality and communities of faith at the local, state and national level. In June 2011, Rev. Stringfellow was elected with the most votes to become a grand marshal in the San Francisco Pride Parade. He jointly holds his BS in Education and a MS in Counseling from Indiana University and a MA in Ministry from Grace Theological Seminary.

Rev. Joseph Tolton, (New York) Pastor of Rehoboth Temple Christ Conscious Church, in New York. Elder Tolton also serves as Director of The REVIVAL Initiative, a spiritual forum purposed to advance the civil rights of gay and lesbian people in the African diaspora.  Elder Tolton earned his BA in religion from Vassar College and his MBA in management from Columbia Business School.

Bishop Yvette Flunder, (San Francisco) founded the City of Refuge UCC in 1991 in order to unite a gospel ministry with a social ministry. A native San Franciscan, Bishop Flunder is a third generation preacher with roots in the Church of God in Christ. She was licensed in the COGIC and later ordained by the Bishop Walter Hawkins of Love Center Ministries where she served as Associate Pastor and administrator for the Oakland-based Love Center Church.  Bishop Flunder is also an ordained Minister of the United Church of Christ and a graduate of the Ministry Studies and Master of Arts. Bishop Flunder is a Trustee and Adjunct Professor at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley California and has been a lecturer, Adjunct Professor and speaker at Lancaster, Duke, Drew, Eden, Yale and New York Theological.  She is the author of “Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology and Homiletic of Radical Inclusion” Pilgrim Press. She is a board member of the National Sexuality Resource Center, an active voice for the Religion Council of the Human Rights Campaign and Co-Chair of the Religious Advisory Committee of the National Black Justice Coalition. She also serves on the UCC Unified Governance Working Group as representative of the United Church of Christ Seminaries.

Rev. Cedric Harmon, (Maryland) An ordained pastor affiliated with the National Baptist and Missionary Baptist Churches, Cedric served as religious organizer for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. For 13 years, he recruited and trained clergy from around the country to provide legislative testimony about issues of religion and government. He’s also known for his writing and television appearances—again on human rights and social justice—and serves on several boards having to do with sexuality and religion.

Rev. Candy Holmes, (Maryland) An African American Marylander who is a Lesbian, who has lived in the state of Maryland for nearly 35 years. She is a reverend with the Metropolitan Community Church.

Rev. Manny Santiago, (Washington) The Rev. Manny Santiago the first openly gay Hispanic minister is in the American Baptist Denomination and our own newly installed Minister at University Baptist Church in Seattle.  Rev. Santiago is an international leader within the Baptist movement sitting on national boards of the Baptist Peace Fellowship and Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists which advocates for full inclusion of LGBT persons in every aspect of the church.

Rev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre, (Denver), Professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.  Additionally, he was elected as the 2012 President of the Society of Christian Ethics.

Ross Murray
GLAAD Director of Religion Faith & Values
(646) 871-8040

Thursday, May 10, 2012