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Thursday, March 11, 2004

National Black Justice Coalition Confronts Anti-gay Ministers

March 10, 2004
Contact: Jasmyne Cannick (212) 330-6599



Boston -- Members of the National Black Justice Coalition today confronted religious leaders at a press conference held by a right-wing group in Boston.

On the eve of a Massachusetts Constitutional Convention that begins on Thursday, the conservative Family Research Council brought in black ministers to the state Capitol in Boston to speak out against marriage equality. But before they could finish their press conference, they were questioned by leaders of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), an organization of black lesbian and gay activists.

Donna Payne, who serves as vice president of NBJC, was joined by NBJC members Sylvia Rhue and Rev. Irene Monroe, each of whom spoke up at the press conference and challenged the ministers not to use religion to divide the community. Gary Daffin, the co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, also took part in the counter event.

The press conference was moderated by Tony Perkins, a white religious conservative who heads the Family Research Council. The event also included Rev. Gregory Daniels of Chicago, who told the New York Times recently, "If the KKK opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them." Another speaker at the press conference, Timothy McGhee, represented a conservative religious-based think tank founded by a prominent black Republican.

"This event is a sham," said Donna Payne, a participant in the counter-event organized by NBJC. "The white religious right is trying to exploit the black community for their own cynical political objectives," she said.

The Coalition released its own list of black religious leaders who support marriage equality, including Rev. Peter Gomes, the chaplain at Harvard University, Rev. William Sinkford, the president of the Unitarian Universalists Association, Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Rev. Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, Rev. Al Sharpton of New York, and author and minister Michael Eric Dyson.

Keith Boykin, the president of the Coalition, promised that his organization would continue to confront homophobic right-wing groups seeking inroads in the black community. "This is a warning shot to the radical right," he said. "If you come to our community, we will be there to fight you."


The nit I always like to pick is the Family Research Council (FRC) isn't conservative - it's anti-gay.