Last week's historic vote on marriage equality in the District of Columbia succeeded with majority support of the DC City Council despite strong opposition from many in the traditional black faith community, most notably Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland who was at the forefront of the movement to block same-sex marriage in the District.
Bishop Jackson's anti-gay media presence along with his supporters falsely paints a picture that all black clergy stand in solidarity against marriage equality-this couldn't be further from the truth.
Rev Dr. Dennis Wiley & Rev Dr. Christine Wiley, co-pastors of Covenant Baptist Church in DC have been two of the most vocal and visible supporters of equality for the LGBT community and they are undeniably black and proudly Christian.
Covenant Baptist Church became the first and only traditional black church in the District of Columbia to perform same-sex unions in 2007 prior to last week's vote. The pair spoke to local media following the historic vote explaining their position & Covenant's stance on marriage equality.
"Black people are not monolithic. We are diverse just like all other human beings," said Rev Dr. Christine Wiley.
"And because Covenant Baptist Church is a beloved community with a long history of celebrating the richness of our diversity... we have gathered here today to affirm in the immortal words of the late Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. that "an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere", she added.
"Therefore we support full marriage equality for the District of Columbia because the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of love not hate, a gospel of justice not injustice, a gospel of inclusion not exclusion, and a gospel of authenticity not hypocrisy", said Rev Dr. Dennis Wiley.
"And with so many heterosexual divorces, broken families, broken homes, and broken lives -we firmly believe that if we're genuinely concerned about protecting the family and preserving the institution of marriage- rather than insisting only marriage between a man and a woman is valid we ought to insist instead that only marriage between two loving and committed adults is valid", he added.
Kudos to Rev Dr. Dennis & Christine Wiley for their fearless leadership on this issue. Their words need to echo throughout the the black church and the world.
Watch their press conference in the video below:
Thanks Michael Crawford