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Minister describes gays as ‘predators’ during marriage rally

Tony Perkins, Bishop Harry Jackson among those who spoke at Baltimore church

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Maryland Marriage Alliance, same sex marriage, gay marriage, gay news Washington Blade
Maryland Marriage Alliance, same sex marriage, gay marriage, gay news Washington Blade

Maryland Marriage Alliance held a ‘Marriage Protection Rally’ at New Harvest Ministries, Inc., in Baltimore on Sunday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

BALTIMORE — A California pastor referred to gays as “predators” during an event against same-sex marriage at a local black church on Sunday.

“You know if we’re willing to stand up and do what we need to do in order to be able to understand that they’re after our children, they’re predators,” said Phillip Goudeaux of the Calvary Christian Center in Sacramento, Calif., during what organizers described as a Marriage Protection Rally at New Harvest Ministries, Inc., in Baltimore. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville and Maryland Marriage Alliance President Derek McCoy were among the roughly 100 people who attended the event.  “They’re preying on them, trying to redefine the thing they rarely notice. I mean you ain’t going to change, but they can go after our children. They can’t reproduce so they’ve got to indoctrinate. And they’re indoctrinating our children and they’re not indoctrinating our society.”

Goudeaux, who was among the most vocal proponents of California’s voter-approved Proposition 8 that overturned the state’s same-sex marriage law in 2008, repeated previous claims that gays are trying to indoctrinate children.

“I guess you guys might make a decision if you’re going to allow them — excuse me if this offends you, those perverted spirits to come over here because it’s a spirit of perversion,” he said. “I’m trying to cross my attitude because I get I’m really challenging a lot of areas because I didn’t get to choose to be black. I was born this way. Sexual preference is a choice. You can choose what kind of sexual preference you want, I guess. To me I don’t understand how two men would want to be together anyway. That’s nasty. That’s nasty. Maybe you don’t like the way I’m saying it, but it’s nasty. I like what God did. God made a man, but then he handcrafted him a woman because he wanted that woman to take our total attention. So there’s got to be something the matter when a man sees another man or wants a man more than he wants a woman … That’s sick. That’s sick.”

Goudeaux and others spoke at the church near Johns Hopkins Hospital slightly more than two weeks before Maryland voters will vote on Question 6.

A Washington Post poll published on Oct. 18 found 52 percent of Maryland voters support the same-sex marriage law that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in March, compared to 42 percent who said they oppose it. A Gonzales Research poll last month indicated 44 percent of black Marylanders back marriage rights for same-sex couples, compared to 52 percent who oppose them.

A Public Policy Polling survey in May found 55 percent of the state’s black voters support nuptials for gays and lesbians. A Hart Research Associates poll conducted in late July noted 44 percent of black Marylanders would support Question 6, compared to 45 percent who would vote against it.

Revs. Donté Hickman of Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore, Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Prince George’s County and Al Sharpton and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are among the prominent black clergy and civil rights organizations that have endorsed Question 6. Both Hickman and Coates and NAACP Chair Emeritus Julian Bond have appeared in Marylanders for Marriage Equality television ads that continue to air in the Baltimore and D.C. media markets.

Jackson mocked those religious leaders in Maryland, D.C. and elsewhere who have backed marriage rights for same-sex couples. McCoy showed his group’s latest television ad that features Angela McCaskill, the Gallaudet University administrator placed on administrative leave earlier this month for signing the petition that prompted the Nov. 6 referendum on the state’s same-sex marriage law.

“Now I know you hear a lot of stuff that says, well the pastor’s not going to have to preach this thing. We can co-exist together. We can do all of this,” said McCoy. “That’s totally disingenuous. And I wish I had more time, but I’m going to tell you that’s a lie. It’s not true. Yeah, he might not be forced tomorrow to marry somebody, but they basically said in that law that I’m going to give you the right you already have in the First Amendment of the Constitution, thank you very much. I never understood that: I’m going to give you a right that you already have.”

Perkins showed a FRC video during his speech that features a Massachusetts man who claims he was arrested in 2005 because he demanded his son’s school administrators not expose him to what court documents describe as “any further discussions of homosexuality” after he brought home a book that includes families with same-sex couples. A local newspaper reported police arrested David Parker for criminal trespass after he refused to leave his son Jacob’s school.

“Your vote can make a difference in this election,” said Perkins. “And I know you’ve seen unfolding here in just the last several days in Maryland the fact that same-sex marriage is not about what happens at the altar of marriage, but rather it’s about altering every fundamental right that we care about in this country. You’ve seen with Dr. McCaskill, what has happened with her in that she has lost her position or been indefinitely suspended simply because she signed a petition to put this on the ballot. These are not theoretical issues. These are happening across the nation where people are losing their God-given right of the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech in the wake of this forced march down the aisle towards same-sex marriage. Now friends, it does not have to be that way. It’s not what God intended. It’s not what our founders intended. It is not I believe in the best interest of America. It’s certainly not in the best of interest of the church to go down this path. I want to encourage you to continue in this stand.”

Perkins again urged those who attended the rally to vote on Nov. 6.

“We need to know what the issues are, where the candidates stand on the issue. I could not, and I will not vote for a candidate who supports the redefinition of marriage,” he said to applause. “We need to know where they stand. And finally we need to participate. We can have rallies. We can register. We can do all that, but on Election Day we have to turn out. And no one should keep you from voting. As an American citizen, you have a right to vote. As a Christian, you have a responsibility to vote, to stand up for truth and to be salt and light to this culture.”

Marylanders for Marriage Equality spokesperson Kevin Nix responded to Perkins’ claims that Question 6 threatens freedom of religion and speech.

“This comes right out of their binder full of lies and misinformation,” he told the Washington Blade earlier on Monday.

Bishop Angel Nunez of the Bilingual Christian Church in Baltimore and Bishop Eugene Reeves of New Life Ministries in Woodbridge, Va., also spoke during the roughly two-hour event.

Beverly Johnson of New Harvest Ministries told the Washington Blade on behalf of Bishop Marcus Johnson, the church’s pastor, that the marriage rally was one of the “many events” that the congregation hosts.

“This was just one of many and that’s what his answer was on that,” she said.

She directed questions about Goudeaux’s reference to gays as “predators” to him. McCoy declined to speak with the Blade inside the church.

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District of Columbia

Capital Stonewall Democrats backs Robert White over Bowser

LGBTQ group endorses Erin Palmer over incumbent Mendelson

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Council member Robert White won the backing of Capital Stonewall Democrats in his bid for mayor over incumbent Muriel Bowser. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Capital Stonewall Democrats, the city’s largest local LGBTQ political group, announced on May 17 that it has selected D.C. Council member Robert White (D-At-Large) over incumbent Mayor Muriel Bowser and political newcomer Erin Palmer over D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson as its endorsed candidates in the city’s June 21 Democratic primary.

With Bowser and Mendelson as well as White having longstanding records of support for LGBTQ rights and Palmer expressing strong support for the LGBTQ community, local observers say the LGBTQ Democratic group’s 163 voting members appear to have based their endorsement decisions on other pressing issues facing the city rather than only LGBTQ specific issues.

In other races, Capital Stonewall Democrats, formerly known as the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, which was founded in 1976, voted to endorse incumbent Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau over gay former D.C. police officer Salah Czapary and community activist Sabel Harris who are running against Nadeau.

In the Ward 5 Council race, the group has endorsed gay D.C. Board of Education member Zachary Parker in a five-candidate contest for the seat being vacated by incumbent Council member Kenyan McDuffie, who ran unsuccessfully for the office of D.C. Attorney General.

The group has also endorsed Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who is running unopposed in the primary; D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who’s favored to win re-election against two lesser-known opponents; and D.C. shadow U.S. Rep. Oye Owolewa, who’s also favored over a lesser known opponent.

Capital Stonewall Democrats announced it did not make an endorsement in the Ward 3 and At-Large D.C. Council races and in the D.C. Attorney General race because no candidate received a required 60 percent of the vote under the group’s longstanding rules for endorsements.

By not endorsing in the At-Large race, the group passed over incumbent At-Large Council member Anita Bonds, a longtime supporter of LGBTQ issues. Bonds is being challenged by Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Lisa Gore, former D.C. shadow House member Nate Fleming, and former D.C. Council staffer Dexter Williams.

In the hotly contested Ward 3 Council race, nine candidates are competing for the seat being vacated by incumbent Mary Cheh, another longtime LGBTQ rights supporter.

In the race for attorney general, three prominent local attorneys — Brian Schwalb, Ryan Jones, and Bruce Spiva — are competing for the AG position being vacated by incumbent Karl Racine, who chose not to run for re-election.

Capital Stonewall Democrats’ endorsements follow a series of five LGBTQ candidate forums the group held virtually in which most of the candidates running in the various races attended.
In the group’s mayoral form, Bowser was the only one of the four mayoral contenders that did not attend. Her supporters said she had a conflicting event organized by gay Democratic activist Kurt Vorndran that prevented her from attending the Stonewall event.

Those who attended the mayoral forum were Robert White, D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate Trayon White (D-Ward 8), and former attorney and community activist James Butler.
A detailed vote tally released by Capital Stonewall Democrats shows the vote count for each of the endorsed candidates as well as candidates in the races for which the group did not make an endorsement.

In the mayoral race, Robert White received 120 votes, or 74.5 percent. Bowser came in second place with 37 votes or 23.0 percent; Trayon White received just two votes or 1.2 percent, with Butler receiving just 1 vote at 0.6 percent. One vote was cast for no endorsement.

In the D.C. Council Chair race, Palmer received 89 votes or 60.1 percent, just surpassing the 60 percent threshold needed for an endorsement. Mendelson received 48 votes or 32.4 percent. Eleven votes were cast for no endorsement.

In the Ward 1 Council race, Nadeau received 100 votes or 69.4 percent compared to gay candidate Czapary, who came in second place with 23 votes or 16.0 percent. Candidate Sabel Harris came in third place with 9 votes or 6.3 percent, with a no endorsement selection receiving 12 votes or 8.3 percent.

In the Ward 5 contest, gay school board member Parker received 91 votes or 64.5 percent. Candidate Faith Hubbard came in second with 31 votes or 22.0 percent. The remaining candidates received fewer than 10 votes each, including former At-Large and former Ward 5 Council member Vincent Orange, who received 5 votes or 3.5 percent.

“Since Capital Stonewall Democrats has only 221 members, and only 163 bothered to vote, this is clearly not representative of the LGBTQ+ community in the District,” said gay Democratic activist Peter Rosenstein, who is supporting Bowser for mayor.

But longtime D.C. LGBTQ rights advocate A. Billy S. Jones-Hennin is among the local activists who view the Capital Stonewall Democrats’ endorsement of lesser-known challengers – most of whom have progressive, left-leaning views – as a reflection of changes in the demographics of the LGBTQ community and the Stonewall group’s members.

“At the forefront for voters is who they feel can address core problems like crime, open drug transactions, and increased homeless populations,” Jones-Hennin told the Blade. “Just asking voters for support based on their support of the LGBTQ+ community in the past does not cut it,” he said. “We are multi-faceted voters looking for new, more progressive and aggressive leadership.”

The Capital Stonewall Democrats list of endorsements as well as races with no endorsement can be viewed below:

• Mayor: Robert White, with 74.5% of the round one vote
• DC Attorney General: No Endorsement
• DC Council Chair: Erin Palmer, with 60.1% of the round one vote
• Ward 1 Council: Brianne K. Nadeau, with 69.4% of the round one vote
• Ward 3 Council: No Endorsement
• Ward 5 Council: Zachary Parker, with 64.5% of the round one vote
• Ward 6 Council: Charles Allen, with 83.2% of the round one vote
• At-Large Council: No Endorsement
• Delegate to U.S. House of Representatives: Eleanor Holmes Norton, with 69.7% of the round one vote
• U.S. Representative: Oye Owolewa, with 66.1% of the round one vote

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District of Columbia

Pannell resigns in protest from Ward 8 Council member’s LGBT Commission

Says Trayon White has no out member of his staff

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Phil Pannell resigned as a member of the Ward 8 LGBT Commission created by D.C. Council member Trayon White. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Longtime D.C. LGBTQ rights activist Phil Pannell announced on May 6 that he has resigned as a member of the Ward 8 LGBT Commission created by D.C. Council member Trayon White (D-Ward 8) on grounds that White does not have an LGBTQ person on his Council staff.

White’s office has said the Council member created the commission to “focus on the specific needs of this community” in his role as a supporter of LGBTQ equality.

“For me, this is a major issue of inclusion, affirmative action and diversity,” Pannell said in an email message announcing his resignation. “I as a Black Gay man cannot in good conscience continue to be a member of my Councilmember’s LGBT Commission when he has no one from my community on his staff,” Pannell’s announcement message continues.

“This is hypocritical at best and structurally homophobic at worst,” he said. “I deeply resent and refuse to be used as anyone’s homosexual prop for any purposes. Therefore, I resign from the commission effective immediately.”

In response to a request by the Washington Blade for comment on Pannell’s resignation, Julia Jessie, White’s director of communications, said White’s Council office “follows all legal HR procedures and hires based on experience and skillset.” Jessie added, “As an employer, we do not discriminate or consider a person’s race, color, religion, or sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity, when making decisions about employment qualifications.”

According to Jessie, “We do, however, harvest a safe and inclusionary work environment where employees who wish to voluntarily disclose their sexual orientation of gender identity feel comfortable doing so.”

White’s office released a statement from the Ward 8 LGBT Commission’s chair, Marvin ‘Rahim’ Briggs, saying the commission “regretfully accepts” Pannell’s resignation.

“The Commission will continue to focus on and address issues affecting Ward 8 LGBTQ,” Briggs says in the statement. “We’ll continue to organize to promote acceptance of LGBTQ community diversity and to foster respect and appreciation for each member of the community residing in Ward 8.”

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District of Columbia

Two gay candidates disqualified from D.C. primary ballot

Republican, Libertarian activists withdraw from races

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(Blade archive photo by Aram Vartian)

A member of the Capital Stonewall Democrats, D.C.’s largest LGBTQ local political group, mounted a successful challenge before the D.C. Board of Elections earlier this month that resulted in a gay Republican and a gay Libertarian Party activist withdrawing as candidates for public office in the city’s June 21 primary.

James Harnett, 24, a member of the Ward 2 Democratic Committee and a member of the staff of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), filed challenges to the candidacy of gay Libertarian Party activist Bruce Majors, who was running unopposed in the June 21 primary for the office of both D.C. Delegate to the U.S. House and chair of the Libertarian Party of D.C.

The Board of Elections upheld Harnett’s challenge claiming that Majors failed to obtain a sufficient number of valid petition signatures needed to be placed on the ballot for both offices, according to elections board spokesperson Nicholas Jacobs. Majors withdrew his candidacy for both offices rather than contest the challenge.

The Board of Elections also upheld a challenge filed by Harnett against the candidacy of gay Republican and D.C. Log Cabin Republicans organization member Andrew Desser, who was running unopposed in the primary for the position of Ward 1 Chairperson of the D.C. Republican Committee.

Desser told the Blade he acknowledged that he fell short in obtaining the needed number of valid petition signatures and would not contest the challenge.

Harnett, who appeared to be acting on his own behalf and not representing the Capital Stonewall Democrats in his challenges to Majors and Desser before the election board, did not respond to the Blade’s request for comment.

Board of Elections records showed that he also successfully challenged six other candidates seeking ballot placement in the June 21 primary, one of whom, Lori Furstenberg, was running for mayor as a Republican and another, Corren Brown, was running for mayor as a Statehood-Green Party member.

The others Harnett mounted a successful challenge against were GOP candidates running for the Ward 2, Ward 4, and Ward 7 GOP Chairperson positions; and Leniqua ‘Dominique’ Jenkins, a Democrat running for the at-large D.C. Council seat, who was the only Democrat challenged by Harnett.

Harnett, a former ANC commissioner in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, ran unsuccessfully in 2020 for the nonpartisan office of D.C. Board of Education for Ward 2. Among the candidates he ran against was gay education advocate Allister Chang, who won that race.

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