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The president of a D.C.-based coalition of African-American and Latino churches, the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), is asking Mayor Vincent Gray (D) to renounce his support of marriage equality in order to ”generate God’s favorable power on [his] behalf” as the mayor faces new scrutiny related to an alleged ”shadow campaign” by campaign workers during his successful 2010 race against incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty (D).
The coalition’s president, the Rev. Anthony Evans – long infamous among the city’s LGBT activist community – alleges that members of the LGBT community have used Gray and have now abandoned him ”like a piece of garbage” during the scandal, while the religious community is standing by the mayor.
In his July 13 letter to Gray, Evans offered the mayor advice as to ”what needs to happen during this time so that God’s healing can begin to take place.” Evans called on Gray to denounce marriage equality and to meet with a particular group of pastors. Evans told Gray he must renounce marriage equality because it had harmed both his soul the District’s, and defied God. Such a reversal, he said, would earn Gray sympathy in some corners of the religious community.
Evans also told Gray that his coalition believes God punished Fenty, former Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) and former Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) by removing them from office due to their support for marriage equality.
”We are standing with you, Mr. Mayor,” Evans wrote. ”Where is the gay community? Where is their statement of support? Why are they not demonstrating in front of the Wilson Building telling everyone of your moral courage to support ‘marriage equality’? We can assure you they will not stand with you and that they will abandon you like they abandoned Mayor Fenty, Kwame R. Brown and Harry Thomas, Jr.”
In a follow-up interview with Metro Weekly, Evans expressed surprise that his letter had been sent to members of the media, while confirming it reflected his sentiments.
”The gay community has used the mayor, they’ve gotten what they want, and now they’ve thrown him away like a piece of garbage,” Evans said. ”They are not engaged in any other issue, whether it’s fiscal responsibility or education, and are only interested in using politicians for their own agenda and gaining some sympathy from the public for their cause.”
Evans said Gray had never engaged the religious community after he was elected mayor, had ”started wrong” and must repent.
”Everybody on the City Council will not have the good grace of God or the support of our community, besides Councilman Barry and Miss Alexander,” Evans said, referring to ”no” votes on the marriage-equality bill by Councilmembers Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7).
Richard J. Rosendall, vice president for political affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), called Evans ”desperate,” ”an opportunist” and ”a clown.”
”I find it amazing that Rev. Evans is so desperate for attention that he’s issuing these statements,” Rosendall said, noting that this is not the first time Evans has railed against the LGBT community. ”The more he raises this, the more he raises questions about his own personal issues.”
To Evans’s comments about the gay community’s involvement in local matters, Rosendall told Metro Weekly that he sees an ”unusual amount” of volunteerism and community involvement by LGBT people in the District.
”To the extent that Evans talks about other people’s selfishness, he’s projecting,” Rosendall said. ”It’s a cynical attempt to divide people, and it’s coming from someone who has a very bad track record.”
Watch Vincent Gray speak strongly in support of Maryland’s pending marriage equality law at the 2012 Capital Pride Festival: