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Gay marriage opponent working for Shallal campaign

Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets, District of Columbia, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Democratic mayoral candidate Andy Shallal’s campaign has paid $4,000 to an official who ran for D.C. mayor in 2010 on a platform supporting a voter referendum to overturn the city’s same-sex marriage law. (Photo by Laela25; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A candidate who ran for D.C. mayor in 2010 on a platform supporting a voter referendum to overturn the city’s same-sex marriage law was paid $4,000 in December as a consultant to Democratic mayoral candidate Andy Shallal, according to campaign finance records.

Records filed with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance on Jan. 31 identify the consultant as 2010 mayoral candidate and former TV news anchor Leo Alexander.

In his run for mayor, Alexander’s campaign received at least $1,950 from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and was backed by Bishop Harry Jackson, the Maryland minister who led the unsuccessful campaign to repeal the city’s marriage equality law.

Alexander received less than 1 percent of the vote in the September 2010 Democratic primary, far behind then City Council Chair Vincent Gray, who won the primary and then Mayor Adrian Fenty, came in second place behind Gray.

Shallal has expressed strong support for LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage. As owner of the local Busboys and Poets restaurant chain, Shallal has hosted LGBT events at his restaurants.

Shallal campaign spokesperson Dwight Kirk told the Washington City Paper that Alexander met with Shallal before joining the campaign and promised that he changed his mind and that his positions “evolved” on the same-sex marriage issue since his 2010 campaign.

But City Paper columnist Will Sommer, who was the first to report Alexander’s connection with the Shallal campaign, said in a posting on Thursday that Alexander wouldn’t tell him whether his positions on gay marriage changed.

News of Alexander’s involvement in the Shallal campaign comes two weeks after news surfaced that an advocate for a voter referendum on the D.C. marriage equality law in 2010 was working as a paid consultant in January for Gray’s re-election campaign.

Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bob King, who was paid by the anti-gay NOM in 2010, is currently being paid to help the Gray campaign arrange logistics to drive senior citizens to the polls for the April 1 primary. Gray campaign chair Chuck Thies said King has no role in policy making issues and now accepts the marriage equality statute as the “law of the land.”

Alexander and Kirk couldn’t immediately be reached for comment by the Blade.


Same-sex marriage opponents blast DOMA, Prop 8 decisions

Harry Jackson, Hope Christian Church, gay news, Washington Blade

Bishop Harry Jackson is among those same-sex marriage opponents who criticized the Supreme Court for ruling against DOMA and Proposition 8 (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Same-sex marriage opponents on Wednesday blasted the U.S. Supreme Court after it struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance described the two rulings as “the Roe v. Wade of marriage,” referring to the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the country.

“While the justices sit in their high chairs, these decisions will have very real-life consequences for American families, especially as it relates to our religious liberties,” she said. “Those who hold a Biblical view of marriage can expect much persecution from the government in the years to come.”

Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes tweeted “Supreme Court overrules God” after the justices announced their decisions. He added it “won’t be long before they (the justices) outlaw the Bible as hate speech.

Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church of Beltsville, Md., also took to social media to criticize the DOMA decision.

“Laws cannot be enforced; justice is always the loser,” he tweeted. “Criminals crowd out honest people and twist the laws around.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops categorized the rulings as “a tragic day for marriage and our nation.

“The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act,” the group, of which New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan is the president, said.

The group is among those who joined National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown; Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse; American Values President Gary Bauer; New York State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr.; and Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition and others at an anti-gay marriage rally on the National Mall in March after the justices heard oral arguments in the Prop 8 case.

“By striking down the federal definition of marriage in DOMA, the court is asserting that Congress does not have the power to define the meaning of words in statutes Congress itself has enacted,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said. “This is absurd.”

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who unsuccessfully sought to place a proposed constitutional amendment on her state’s 2004 ballot that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman, is among the members of Congress who criticized the Supreme Court’s rulings.

“Marriage was created by the hand of God,” she said. “No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.”

“It’s pretty hard to believe that the Supreme Court would say that the 85 Senators, 342 members of the House of Representatives, and Democrat President Bill Clinton – all who supported DOMA when it was signed into law nearly 20 years ago – voted for DOMA literally seeking to injure and impose stigma on gay individuals,” U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) added. “That may be the perception of five Justices, but it is simply not true. I’ve always felt that marriage was an issue best left up to each state, and that’s essentially what the Court ruled today. But this ruling is a disappointment because instead of allowing the American people and their elected representatives to continue the debate about same-sex marriage, the Court instead used its own personal opinion to tip the balance.”

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who on Tuesday petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling earlier this year that struck down the commonwealth’s anti-sodomy law, said in a statement the state “has followed the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman for more than 400 years.” He also noted Virginians in 2006 approved a constitutional amendment that banned nuptials for gays and lesbians.

Cuccinelli, who is also running for governor against former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe, who supports same-sex marriage, added he feels the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions will have no impact in Virginia.

“The court’s two decisions on marriage make clear that the rulings have no effect on the Virginia Marriage Amendment or to any other Virginia law related to marriage,” Cuccinelli said.


Tell us less: NPR interviews Bishop Jackson

Harry Jackson, Hope Christian Church, gay news, Washington Blade

Bishop Harry Jackson (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

As part of the coverage of two days of Supreme Court hearings regarding same-sex marriage, Michel Martin interviewed local anti-gay leader Bishop Harry Jackson for NPR’s ‘Tell Me More.’

Jackson first said that his strongest objection to extending marriage rights to same-sex couples stems from his belief in the connection between the institution and procreation. When Martin asked Jackson what he believed to be the worst harm to come from extending those rights, Jackson switched gears and invoked the prospect of curriculum changes.

“I think that the worst case from my perspective would happen is that we’re going to have to look at what’s taught in schools to children who have slightly different family concepts,” Jackson said. “I think we have to decide what should be the curriculum in the courts or in the schools. What should kids who’re raised in Christian homes be taught?”

“For me,” Jackson continued, “the issue has always been about — what do we teach the kids and are we going to have an imbalance in what’s going to be taught to them? That’s always been my concern.”

Last year Jackson — who vociferously opposed successful efforts to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in both the District of Columbia and Maryland — was recorded claiming that a curse he’d placed on the Washington Blade had caused its former parent company — Window Media — to declare bankruptcy.

Listen below:


Anti-gay consultant working for Bowser mayoral campaign

Muriel Bowser, Ward 4, Washington D.C., D.C. Council, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A political consultant who was paid by an anti-gay group to lead the effort to place D.C.’s same-sex marriage law on the ballot in a voter referendum in 2010 is serving on a fundraising committee for D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser’s campaign for mayor.

Robert “Bob” King, a Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, is listed as one of more than 100 people serving on the host committee for a May 2 “kickoff celebration and fundraiser” for Bowser’s bid to win the Democratic nomination for mayor next year.

Bowser, a Democrat from Ward 4, is a strong supporter of LGBT rights and voted for the city’s same-sex marriage law when it came before the D.C. Council in 2009. The Council passed the law by a vote of 11-2. Then Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the measure less than a week later.

King emerged as one of the top lieutenants of Bishop Harry Jackson, the Beltsville, Md., minister who came to D.C. to lead the campaign to overturn the marriage law.

King told the Blade this week that he has never taken a public position for or against the gay marriage law. He said he was retained as a consultant by the National Organization for Marriage — which opposes same-sex marriage — to coordinate a campaign to place the D.C. marriage law on the ballot in a voter referendum.

“My position was to give the people the right to vote on the issue,” he said. “My personal view is not the issue. The issue was democracy and whether the people should be given the right to vote.”

In a brief interview with the Blade Tuesday night at the election victory party for Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large), Bowser said she had yet to hear from anyone who objected to King being on the host committee for her campaign kickoff event.

When asked how King was selected to be on the committee, Bowser said, “Well, we certainly invite people who want to support my candidacy for mayor all across the city. And certainly Bob King is a fixture in this community,” she said. “But he won’t change my views.”

Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, said King and others who clearly oppose marriage equality seek to “hide behind the ‘let the people vote’ mantra’ in their efforts to kill same-sex marriage laws.

“The fact is that no other people’s rights are put to a plebiscite,” he said.

“People have a right to support whatever candidate they like, of course,” Rosendall added. “But for a candidate to welcome the support of a documented organizer for bigotry, and even to welcome such a person on their host committee, is at the very least a significant act of disrespect for the LGBT community.”

Among others serving on the Bowser campaign host committee are gay activists Christopher Dyer, who served as director of the D.C. Office of GLBT Affairs under the Fenty administration; and gay activist and businessman Everett Hamilton.

King said he has been an advocate for D.C. residents, including senior citizens, for more than 30 years in his role as a civic activist and ANC commissioner. He said he’s supporting Bowser because he believes she is highly qualified to be mayor and would move the city forward.

“That issue has been decided,” he said of the D.C. marriage law. “We move on now to other issues.”

Records from the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance show that the National Organization for Marriage paid King $60,900 to, among other things, distribute fliers during the 2010 City Council election to urge voters to vote against Council members up for re-election who voted for the marriage equality law.

Bob King, National Organization for Marriage, NOM, gay news, Washington Blade

Bob King speaking at a National Organization for Marriage rally in 2010. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)


Md. school district pulls bullying curriculum with ‘ex-gay’ references

Prince George’s County Public Schools earlier this week stopped using an anti-bullying curriculum that included references to “ex-gay” organizations.

A 21-minute video the Washington Blade obtained from Christopher Doyle, director of the International Healing Foundation who developed the Acception curriculum, features four students who are assigned a project on anti-gay bullying.

The video contains a number of short clips that include a group of students — one who receives the aforementioned assignment from his teacher — who shout an anti-gay slur at a classmate before pushing him into a locker. Another features a group of students who use a cell phone to record a teenaged boy changing inside a restroom stall before gym class.

A black student who said her classmates bullied her because she is a lesbian discusses how she accepted her sexual orientation, while a Latina claims her “sexual feelings for girls gradually went away.” Another clip features a gay teenager who said his former science teacher helped him come out to his parents and friends.

The video also includes cartoons of cavemen who explain the causes of bullying and a scientist discussing the science behind homosexuality to gay identical twins. One of the students who receives the assignment from his teacher also points out he has a cousin who said she became straight.

Both the curriculum and the website for Acception Productions, which produced it, lists Exodus International, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays among a list of resources for “questioning and/or youth with unwanted same-sex attraction.”

Doyle told the Blade the district’s School Health Committee unanimously approved the curriculum last spring. A source familiar with it who requested anonymity said a staff training took place on Oct. 18 and seventh grade health teachers had the option to use it with parental permission.

Briant Coleman, spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Public Schools, confirmed teachers first used it this school year. He said it was removed this week.

“We reviewed the video that was being used by six of our middle school health teachers,” Coleman said. “We determined that there was not enough information about bullying prevention to justify using it as a supplemental resource for our anti-bullying program.”

Doyle said the school district told him on Tuesday that it would no longer use his curriculum.

“This really came to me as a shock,” he said, noting he has yet to meet with district officials. “I don’t know exactly why they’re pulling the video. All I know is the health education supervisor told me on Tuesday that the video was being pulled for further review because of the controversy surrounding some of the messages.”

Doyle acknowledged Richard Cohen, whom the American Counseling Association permanently expelled in 2002, is the founder and former director of the International Healing Foundation. He stressed he had “nothing to do with the film” other than “he’s a colleague of mine” who told Betsy Gallun, who recently retired as supervisor of health education in the district, about it.

Richard Cohen, gay news, Washington Blade

Richard Cohen (Photo public domain)

Cohen is a member of the Prince George’s County Public Schools’ School Health Committee. Gallun is also listed as a “health education consultant” in the credits at the end of the Acception video.

“We believe in true tolerance, real diversity and equality for all,” Doyle said. “I love the entire LGBT community. I once lived a gay life. I have friends that are gay and lesbians.”

He further stressed gay-specific references are “only a small segment” of the Acception curriculum.

“Most of the curriculum does not focus on sexuality at all,” Doyle said. “The film focuses on it, but only in the realm of sharing true stories of young people … who’ve experienced bullying because of their sexuality or non-acceptance.”

This controversy is not the first time Prince George’s County Public Schools has faced questions over its connections to anti-gay officials.

The Blade reported in October that Christian Hope Ministries, Inc., the Beltsville church led by Bishop Harry Jackson, who campaigned against marriage rights for same-sex couples in Maryland and D.C., rented 35,000 square feet of office space to the school district. Copies of leases obtained through a Maryland Public Information Act request indicate the church received more than $3.4 million in rental income from the Prince George’s County Public Schools from Sept. 2007 through Aug. 2012.

“Anybody involved with him [Cohen] we would consider an extremist,” Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, told the Blade. “Richard Cohen personifies extremism in the ex-gay industry and Christopher Doyle was his close associate.”


Same-sex marriage supporters, opponents gather outside Supreme Court

Supreme Court, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Hollingsworth vs. Perry, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Supporters and opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday as the justices heard oral arguments in a case that challenges California’s Proposition 8.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson, National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill and gay retired New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson and his daughter Ella are among those who spoke at a rally in support of nuptials for gays and lesbians that drew a few thousand people.

Robinson also joined Rev. Dennis Wiley of Covenant Baptist Church of Christ in Southwest Washington, Rev. Abena McCray of Unity Fellowship Church in D.C., Sister Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministry in Mount Rainier, Md., Washington National Cathedral Dean Gary Hall and others at an interfaith service at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation near the Supreme Court earlier in the day.

Supreme Court, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Hollingsworth vs. Perry, gay news, Washington Blade, Margaret Hoover

Margaret Hoover (Washington Blade photo by Blake Bergen)

“We all know that something special is happening here today,” Republican strategist Margaret Hoover said. “That’s why we are here in love to demonstrate that all Americans have the constitutional right and the freedom to marry the person they love.”

D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton pointed out nine states and the nation’s capital allow same-sex couples to marry.

“There are no second class citizens in America,” Norton said. “There are no second class marriages in America.

Jo-Ann Shain and Mary Jo Kennedy of Brooklyn, N.Y., and their daughter Aliya Shain held a poster with a picture of Edie Windsor outside the Supreme Court, Windsor is the New York City widow who challenged the Defense of Marriage Act after she paid $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 when her partner of more than 40 years passed away. The couple, who has been together for 31 years, in 2004 challenged the Empire State’s same-sex marriage ban.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan in 2005 ruled the law was unconstitutional.

“This is a watershed moment for our community,” Jo-Ann Shain told the Washington Blade before she, her wife whom she married in New York in 2011 after the state’s same-sex marriage law took effect and their daughter held up their signs to shield members of the Westboro Baptist Church who had gathered on the sidewalk. “This is history in the making and we wouldn’t miss it.”

Baltimore resident Lucas McCahill, who is an organizer with the American Humanist Association, said the claim the United States is “a free country” is “actually a blatant lie.” She told the Blade outside the Supreme Court the justices ruling in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples would change that reality.

“It’s just a part of my basic values to uphold equality for everybody, no matter who you are, what you look like,” McCahill said.

David Pérez, president of the Latino GLBT History Project Board of Directors, agreed.

“We’re really excited to be out here to support marriage equality,” he said, noting his organization is among those that supported last year’s campaign in support of referenda on Maryland’s same-sex marriage law and DREAM Act that both passed. “We definitely want the justices to know the American people support marriage equality.”

Same-sex marriage opponents march to Supreme Court

As same-sex marriage supporters spoke outside the Supreme Court, an estimated 2,000 opponents of nuptials for gays and lesbians marched onto First Street, N.E. Some held a large banner that read “Let the people decide,” while others waved signs that said “Vote for holy matrimony” and “Children do better with a mom and a dad!” in Spanish.

Backers of nuptials for gays and lesbians gathered adjacent to the marchers and shouted slogans in support of the issue. Several of them held American, gay Pride and Human Rights Campaign flags as they squared off against the protesters.

“We’re here in order to defend civil society from one of the greatest assaults that it’s experienced in its history,” Father Johannes Smith of New York told the Blade outside the Supreme Court. “The whole idea of homosexual marriage is an assault on the foundations of a sound society.”

Christina Hughes, who traveled to D.C. from Miami to march against nuptials for gays and lesbians, said she feels marriage is “defined by God between a man and a woman.”

“Who are we to try and change that,” she said. “God is our creator and we should go by God’s laws.”

Roughly 1,000 same-sex marriage opponents attended a rally on the National Mall after they marched to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Hollingsworth vs. Perry, gay news, Washington Blade, NOM, National Organization for Marriage

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance; Ruth Institute President Jennifer Roback Morse; American Values President Gary Bauer; New York State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr.; and Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, are among those who spoke.

The Family Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats noted Rev. Billy Graham and newly elected Pope Francis’ opposition to same-sex marriage. He also spoke about the 2010 recall of the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled a year earlier the Hawkeye State’s ban on nuptials for gays and lesbians was unconstitutional.

“We saw what happened when a court usurps the obvious will of the people,” Vander Plaats said. “What happened there is the people of Iowa listened and they responded and they responded with the historic ouster of all the judges in the 2010 election.”

Supreme Court, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Hollingsworth vs. Perry, gay news, Washington Blade, NOM, National Organization for Marriage

NOM President Brian Brown (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church of Beltsville, Md., claimed marriage between a man and woman reduces poverty and rates of youth incarceration, domestic violence and sexual abuse.

“When a man and a woman are in the house, there is health, there is healing, there is peace, there is joy, there’s security,” he said. “There is the rule and reign of God in the house. One man, one woman is God’s architectural plan so the desert places of urban America will bloom and blossom like a rose.”

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released last week shows 58 percent of Americans support marriage rights for same-sex couples. The survey further indicates 52 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning independents between 18-49 back nuptials for gays and lesbians.

Brown and other same-sex marriage opponents sought to discredit polls that continue to show a majority of Americans now support the issue.

Supreme Court, gay marriage, same sex marriage, marriage equality, Proposition 8, Hollingsworth vs. Perry, gay news, Washington Blade, NOM, National Organization for Marriage

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

NOM Cultural Director Thomas Peters highlighted to the Blade a recent poll he did not identify that he said showed 60 percent of Americans “believe in the proposition that” marriage is between one man and one woman.

“In free and fair votes of the people in 31 states, we’ve won by over 60 percent,” he said. “Even in states like Rhode Island we are arguing for a public vote. Proponents of gay marriage don’t want the people to vote on it. I don’t think that gay marriage advocates even believe their own polls because even in deep blue states they don’t want to take the issue to the people.”

Jo-Ann Shain said she feels public opinion is one of the factors the justices should consider as they weigh the issue.

“Although we’re married in our state, we’re not whole unless the feds recognize our marriages,” she said.


Year in review: Maryland wins marriage equality

Martin O'Malley, Maryland, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the marriage bill on Mar. 1 in Annapolis, Md. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Maryland voters on Nov. 6 approved the state’s same-sex marriage law by a 52-48 percent margin.

“Fairness and equality under the law won tonight,” Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a coalition of groups that included the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Maryland that supported Question 6, said shortly after he announced voters had upheld the law. “We’re sure to feel the ripples of this monumental victory across the country for years to come.”

Election Day capped off a long and often tumultuous effort for Maryland’s same-sex marriage advocates that began in 1997 when three state lawmakers introduced the first bill that would have allowed nuptials for gays and lesbians.

Equality Maryland and the American Civil Liberties Union in 2004 filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lisa Polyak and Gita Deane and eight other same-sex couples and a gay widow who sought the right to marry in the state. Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock in 2006 ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but the Maryland Court of Appeals ultimately upheld the constitutionality of the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples the following year.

State lawmakers in 2011 narrowly missed approving a same-sex marriage bill, but legislators approved it in February. O’Malley signed the measure into law on March 1.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, which opposed the same-sex marriage law, collected more than 160,000 signatures to prompt a referendum on the law — the group needed to collect 55,736 signatures by June 30 to bring the issue before voters on Nov. 6.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality struggled to raise money in the first months of the campaign, but it ultimately netted nearly $6 million. HRC contributed more than $1.5 million in cash and in-kind contributions to the pro-Question 6 campaign, while New York City Michael Bloomberg donated $250,000 in October.

Former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and his wife Chan announced a $100,000 contribution to Marylanders for Marriage Equality during an Oct. 2 fundraiser that O’Malley, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and others attended at gay Democratic lobbyist Steve Elmendorf’s Logan Circle home. The governor also headlined a star-studded New York City fundraiser for the campaign that gay former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman hosted in September.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance netted slightly more than $2.4 million, which is less than half the amount Marylanders for Marriage Equality raised. The National Organization for Marriage, the Knights of Columbus and the Archdiocese of Baltimore are among the groups that contributed to the anti-Question 6 group. Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Family Research President Tony Perkins and Dr. Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., are among those who publicly opposed the same-sex marriage law.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance came under increased scrutiny as Election Day drew closer.

The Blade obtained court documents that indicate the Internal Revenue Service in 2011 filed a lien against Derek A. McCoy, the group’s chair, for more than $32,000 in unpaid taxes in 2002 and 2003. He also faced criticism from same-sex marriage advocates for defending a suburban Baltimore pastor who suggested during an October town hall that those who practice homosexuality and approve it are “deserving of death.” A California minister described gay men as “predators” during an anti-Question 6 rally at a Baltimore church on Oct. 21 that McCoy, Jackson, Perkins and others attended.

“Nobody here endorses violence, endorses bullying of any sort in any stance,” McCoy said during a Nov. 2 press conference, two days before a Frederick pastor noted during another anti-Question 6 rally that Superstorm Sandy struck New York City after Bloomberg gave $250,000 to Marylanders for Marriage Equality. “We stand collectively to love our community, to love the constituents who are in our churches and within our broader community in the state of Maryland.”

McCoy said after Election Day the Maryland Marriage Alliance respects “the results that have come from a democratic process.”

The law will take effect on Jan.1.