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Anti-gay Baptist bishop sued for sexual acts by male parishioner

Minister’s attorney goes on radio show to defend client



An attorney for a Baptist bishop whose ministry is in Lithonia, Ga., and who’s embroiled in a gay sex lawsuit defended his client on a radio show this week.

Bishop Eddie Long’s attorney went to the airwaves on Tom Joyner’s radio show this week to defend the pastor from three lawsuits filed against the popular preacher by three young men who said Long coerced them into having sex.

Craig Gillen, Long’s attorney, told Roland Martin of the Tom Joyner Show at 104.1 Kiss FM it was his decision not to have Long be interviewed on the show and first read a statement from Long.

“I apologize … this was my call [to not have Long interview on the show],” Gillen said during the interview that lasted just under 15 minutes. “He wanted to be here.”

The statement Gillen said was from Long said, in part, “I have been through storms and my faith has always sustained me … Let me be clear, these charges are false.”

Gillen also said Long stated he would respond to the allegations to his congregation of some 25,000 members at the 11 a.m. service on Sunday at New Birth located in Lithonia.

Gillen said “these false allegations” are an attack on Bishop Long personally, on New Birth and its 25,000 members as well as an attack on the church’s mentoring program “that has helped thousands of young men.”

Martin posed the question why Long himself has not spoken out yet himself some 48 hours after the first lawsuit was filed.

“You have a large congregation, a national, international ministry … but if someone leveled these kinds of charges, that I slept in a bed, that I actually performed sexual acts, that I groped individuals, things along those lines, I would likely be screaming to high heaven there’s no way in the world I did any of these things,” Martin said. “Don’t you think that still poses a problem not hearing directly from the bishop addressing these allegations?”

Gillen said he didn’t believe it was a problem and if any blame was to be made about Long not speaking directly about the situation to blame him as his attorney.

“It is important for the bishop to make sure as many folks as possible in that church understand and know he is going to be talking with them directly Sunday morning. These folks along with the bishop are under attack,” Gillen said.

No lawyer likes to have his client in a situation that a lawyer can’t control, Gillen added.

A press conference with Long that was scheduled for today was also canceled. Gillen said on the radio show there was a “miscommunication” and there would be no press conference.

Gillen also pointed out that two of the accusers were arrested for robbing the church.

The full statement from Long as read by Gillen on the radio today:

“I have been through storms and my faith has always sustained  me. I am anxious to respond directly to these false allegations and I will do so. However, my lawyers counsel patience at this time.

“Let me be clear — the charges against me and New Birth are false. I have devoted my life to helping others and these false allegations hurt me deeply. But my faith is strong and the truth will emerge.

“All I ask is for your patience as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges. Finally, as I have done for thousands of others over my decades of preaching
I ask for your prayers for me, my family and our church.”

Charges against Long

Jamal Parris, 23, is named as the plaintiff in the third lawsuit. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colo. He and his mother joined Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in 2001 when Parris was 14.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Parris alleges Long encouraged him to call him “Daddy.” During 2004-2005, Parris spent time alone with Long in a guesthouse of the megachurch on Snapfinger Road.

“Initially, Defendant Long engaged in sexual touching during their encounters and then escalated the activity to oral sodomy and other acts of sexual gratification,” the lawsuit states. “Defendant Long would discuss the Holy Scripture to justify the sexual activity.”

The third lawsuit is similar to two lawsuits filed on Tuesday by former members.

Long has a long history of being anti-gay. In December 2004, he led a march of some 10,000 congregants through the streets of Atlanta from the Martin Luther King Jr. Center to Turner Field to protest same-sex marriage. Several local LGBT activists held a counter-protest to the march.

In 2005, black gay activists Keith Boykin and Jasmyne Cannick profiled Long as one of several anti-gay black pastors as part of an “Outing Black Pastors” online series on their websites.



Federal judge halts enforcement of Fla. trans healthcare ban

Advocacy groups challenged Senate Bill 254



A federal judge has halted enforcement of a Florida law that bans gender-affirming health care for transgender youth. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

In his 44 page ruling, Judge Robert Hinkle of the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida has barred the state from any further enforcement action against transgender youth or their parents from seeking appropriate gender-affirming care.

Hinkle’s ruling allows Florida parents challenging the ban to access necessary medical care for their trans children while the legal challenge to the bans continues. The ruling blocks enforcement of Florida state Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine rules banning established medical care for trans adolescents as well as provisions in Senate Bill 254 that codify those rules into state law with added criminal and civil penalties.

In his summary Hinkle wrote: “Gender identity is real. Those whose gender identity does not match their natal sex often suffer gender dysphoria. The widely accepted standard of care calls for evaluation and treatment by a multidisciplinary team. Proper treatment begins with mental health therapy and is followed in appropriate cases by GnRH agonists and cross-sex hormones. Florida has adopted a statute and rules that prohibit these treatments even when medically appropriate.”

In today’s ruling the court indicated that the plaintiff parents are likely to succeed in their claims that SB 254 and the Boards of Medicine rules unconstitutionally strip them of the right to make informed decisions about their children’s medical treatment and violate the equal protection rights of trans youth by denying them medically necessary, doctor-recommended healthcare.

The challenge to the Boards of Medicine and SB 254 healthcare bans is likely to proceed quickly to trial.

The families are represented by Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Human Rights Campaign, which issued the following statement:

“Today’s ruling is a powerful affirmation of the humanity of transgender people, the efficacy of well-established, science-based medical care, and of the rights of parents to make informed healthcare decisions for their children. The court recognized the profound harm the state of Florida is causing by forcing parents to watch their kids suffer rather than provide them with safe and effective care that will allow them to thrive. We are incredibly relieved that these Florida parents can continue to get healthcare for their children while we proceed to challenge these bans and eventually see them fully overturned.”

Read the ruling:

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Events roundup: Federal gov’t celebrates Pride month

Bidens to host White House Pride reception on Thursday



U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (Photo courtesy DHS)

The White House, U.S. federal agencies, and Congress are honoring Pride month with a slate of official and unofficial events this year, many taking place this week.

Details for some events have not yet been announced, so this article will be updated when new information becomes available – such as details about the U.S. State Department’s Pride reception, which is expected to happen later this month.

  • The U.S. Department of the Interior kicked off Pride month with a celebration on June 1, where DoI Secretary Deb Haaland raised the Progress Pride Flag alongside members of Interior’s LGBTQ community.
  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs hosted a flag raising ceremony on June 1 at the John A. Wilson Building. The Mayor’s Office is also sponsoring a District of Pride Showcase at the Lincoln Theatre on June 29.
  • On June 2, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security held a flag raising ceremony at the agency’s headquarters with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
  • Speaker Emerita U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the Washington Nationals Night OUT game on Tuesday, Major League Baseball’s longest-running annual Pride event. The Speaker will be honored this year for her advancement of LGBTQ civil rights throughout her career in Congress.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense’s DoD Pride, an LGBTQ employee resource group for service members and DoD civilian employees, will hold its annual Pride month event on June 7 at the Pentagon.
  • President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are hosting a Pride month celebration on the South Lawn of the White House on June 8, which will feature a performance by singer-songwriter Betty Who.
  • The LGBTQ Victory Fund’s June 22 Federal PAC Reception will feature LGBTQ members of Congress: U.S. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Eric Sorensen (D-Ill.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Robert Garcia (D-Calf.), and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.).
  • On June 28, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff are hosting a reception in celebration of Pride at the Vice President’s residence, in collaboration with GLAAD.
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Same-sex marriage support remains strong at 71 percent high

Supreme Court issued Obergefell ruling in 2015



A Gallup Poll released Monday showed that support for same-sex marriage is maintaining a position of 71 percent of Americans who think it should be legal, matching the previous year’s percentage.

Gallup noted that public support for legally recognizing gay marriages has been consistently above 50 percent since the early 2010s.

The latest figures are from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 1-24.

When Gallup first polled about same-sex marriage in 1996, barely a quarter of the public (27 percent) supported legalizing such unions. It would take another 15 years, until 2011, for support to reach the majority level. Then in 2015, just one month before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, public support for legalizing gay marriage cracked the 60 percent level. In 2021, it reached the 70 percent mark for the first time and has been there each of the past three years.

Support Relatively Low Among Republicans, Weekly Churchgoers

Gallup has recorded increases in support for same-sex marriage across all major subgroups over time. Today, majorities of all but two key subgroups — Republicans (49 percent) and weekly churchgoers (41 percent) — say gay marriages should be legally recognized.

Republican support for gay marriage has hovered around the 50 percent mark since 2020, with slight majorities backing it in 2021 and 2022. The latest 49 percent recorded for this group is statistically similar to the level of support Gallup has recorded in recent years.

Like all other subgroups, weekly churchgoers (41 percent) are more supportive of gay marriage now than they were in the previous two decades. However, their level of support has been steady since 2018 — ranging between 40 percent and 44 percent.

Bottom line

Same-sex marriage has received majority support in the U.S. for over a decade, and support has been on an upward trajectory for most of Gallup’s polling since 1996.

Gay marriage became the law of the land after the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell decision, and President Joe Biden signed bipartisan legislation to ward off future judicial attempts at undoing its legality late last year.

Among many groups — including older adults, Protestants and residents of the South — perspectives on gay marriage have gone from majority opposition to majority support over the course of Gallup’s trend spanning more than a quarter of a century. But two groups remain holdouts on the issue, with Republicans evenly divided on the legality of same-sex unions and weekly churchgoers maintaining their position against it.

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