Prominent Black Reverend Supports Maryland's Gay Marriage Bill

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rev. Delman L. Coates, Senior Pastor at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD, serves as master of ceremonies at the People's Inaugural Project Prayer Breakfast on January 19, 2009 in Washington, DC (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images/Getty)

It's been a big week for advocates of gay marriage: legislation in its favor passed both New Jersey's Assembly and Maryland's Senate. However, this isn't the first time Maryland lawmakers have debated this issue. Last year a similar bill died after being passed by the state senate. The bill's failure was largely attributable to black representatives who were hesitant to back an issue so strongly opposed by the state's black clergy. Governor Martin O'Malley has voiced his support, and now so has Reverend Delman Coates, pastor of a 6,000 strong black church.

Reverend Delman Coates is a pastor at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, located in Prince George's County, Maryland, where skepticism about gay marriage is high. He talks to us about his evolution of thought on this issue.


Reverend Delman Coates

Produced by:

Alex Collins

Comments [8]

Ema M. from New York, NY

Why should any of this surprise us? Jesus Himself said that ALL of this was coming before His return, and the Bible has been right on target. I would not like to be in that minister's shoes by what he's saying and doing, because he WILL have to give an account to Almighty God and Jesus Christ for 'his choices and decisions' on this matter.

Either we're going to follow God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Word '100%', or we're going to follow satan and end up in hell, and 'eternally lost' forever for 'their decisions'. When God says, "NO" to homosexuality and the other SINS as well, He means just that "NO" (because He KNOWS the 'consequences' of our actions and the dangers that can end up killing us in the long run). Jesus also said that those who took up their cross and 'followed Him', would suffer just like He did but it seems some people would rather 'give in' then put up with what others will think about them (but the devil IS A LIAR). Pray for this man and all who follow him.

Jun. 17 2012 01:09 AM
Danii Oliver from New York

Marriage is not Religious. If it were, then it would not require a license nor be legally recognized. A child's name is not legally changed when he goes through the Catholic right of confirmation because that is a religious ceremony. Marriage is a state contract between people who want to share and care for one another, with all rights and privileges allowed by having proof of familial status. The right to care for one's family should not be restricted to a person's religious background. It should be decided by the those who so choose to unite as a family unit.

May. 14 2012 08:55 AM
stephen foster

Check this out. This guy comes on introduced as Rev, an ego title, as opposed to, say pastor, which implys humility and servutude. We hear a slice of sermon. It's delivered in a phony retro style, really more white hillbilly than black halielujah. Then 8 min in he's a schollar of Aramaic, explaining mistranslations as reason for modern confusion @ bible/homosexuality. Really? What is it we mis-translated? This is not abstract/philosophic stuff. The words are "man with man". Like it or not. It be what it be. This guy's a phoooooony.

Feb. 17 2012 06:49 PM
George Lucas from Oakland Park Florida

I have never heard ANY religious leader speak on a level of such pure love and acceptance of all people. It's our job to love and accept and the judgement to come from a higher level, and I don't mean politicians, although many would think I was referring to them. The Mt. Ennon Church is so fortunate to have someone so well spoken and loving leading them. Bravo.

Feb. 17 2012 11:21 AM
CP from NYC

This is the first time I've heard a member of the American Christian church speak so reasonably.

I grew up Christian but left the church in part because of its political activism, which I find inappropriate and completely mis-prioritized by my understanding of Jesus' mission and the New Testament. I have used the Reverend's phrase "hierarchy of sins" many times in the past in my take on why the modern church has it wrong (gay marriage over feeding the poor? really? please re-read the book of Matthew) - it was so refreshing to hear someone from the "inside" say it.

If I were in Maryland I'd visit this church, no question. (note this, churches everywhere - I'm sure many more people would agree.)

Feb. 17 2012 11:10 AM
karl jones from miami

If I lived in Maryland I would run to join reverend Coates church. As a gay black male I left the church decades ago because of the churches intransigence on this issue. Coates is spot on with his separation of public policy and personal theology argument.

Bravo reverand Coates

Karl Jones

Feb. 17 2012 10:08 AM
Ed Selby from North Georgia

The key - the "takeaway" if you will - of his position is that today's majority is tomorrow's minority, and equality of law should preside over shifting theologies and majority opinions.

Feb. 17 2012 08:33 AM
Maaza from Johannesburg, South Africa

What a fabulous segment with the brave Reverend. I love the notion of living rather than legislating your faith. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, another brave religious leader, has been at the forefront of this openness in South Africa, once going as far as to state: "If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn't worship that God."

Feb. 17 2012 07:59 AM

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