Demand that Mayor Vincent Gray and the Washington, D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities
Apologize For Discriminating Against
Grammy-Award Winning Gospel Singer and Ex-Gay Donnie McClurkin
Gospel Singer, Donnie McClurkin, was scheduled to headline a concert on August 10 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. As an African-American and Grammy Award winning singer, it would seem very appropriate for McClurkin to sing at the celebration. The problem for McClurkin: He is an ex-gay.
McClurkin, who in 2002 wrote publicly about his story of being molested by male relatives as a child, living a gay life, and then coming out of homosexuality, said: “I’ve been through this and have experienced God’s power to change my lifestyle,” he wrote. “I am delivered and I know God can deliver others, too.”
McClurkin was to perform in the D.C.-government-sponsored concert with other singers at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial during the “Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King” event, but after several gay activists objected to his participation, Mayor Vincent Gray asked McClurkin to withdraw from the event, saying: “The Arts and Humanities Commission and Donnie McClurkin’s management decided that it would be best for him to withdraw because the purpose of the event is to bring people together.”
But according to McClurkin’s video statement posted online Saturday, it was not a mutual decision. Rather, he was on his way to the airport to fly up to Washington, D.C. on Friday when he received a call from the Mayor’s office saying he had been “uninvited from a concert that (he) was supposed to headline.”
In a phone interview on Monday with Voice of the Voiceless (VoV), Rob Marus, Communications Officer of the Washington, D.C. Mayor’s Office, confirmed that in Washington, D.C., “You cannot be discriminated against because of your sexual orientation.” When asked if the Mayor’s office was aware that former homosexuals are covered under Washington, D.C. sexual orientation non-discrimination laws, Marus commented: “Yes, we are aware that former homosexuals are a protected class against discrimination in the District, and yes, Mr. McClurkin has full freedom of speech and expression.”
So if McClurkin has full freedom of speech rights and is protected under sexual orientation non-discrimination laws, then Mayor Gray and the Washington, D.C. Arts and Humanities Commission seem to have committed a crime by eliminating McClurkin from the concert due to his statements on homosexuality and his ex-gay orientation.
In a statement over uninviting McClurkin, Mayor Gray said “the purpose of the event is to promote peace and harmony. That is what King was all about.” But it was gay activists who threatened to protest and cause dissention at the event due to their intolerance for ex-gays and McClurkin’s views, not ex-gays and Christians protesting against inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons at the MLK Jr. Memorial Concert.
“If these gay activists were really about “peace and harmony” they would have come together and supported McClurkin’s music and participation, despite their differences, commented Christopher Doyle, President and Co-Founder of Voice of the Voiceless. “Rather than focusing on McClurkin’s views of homosexuality and his decision to leave the gay life, these activists should have, in the spirit of cooperation, focused on what brings us all together – our differences. Instead, it proved to be yet another assault on freedom of speech and religious liberty by a group that demands tolerance the most, yet affords it the least.”
Nolan Williams, the concert’s director, said he would have preferred McClurkin to have performed. “Even in Tiananmen Square, they were singing ‘We Shall Overcome.’ The fight for human rights is a global fight that has to bring us together,” Williams said. “That has to bring us together whenever there are differences of opinions or differences in views. We still need to find a place to come together even when we don’t agree.”
In his video statement online, McClurkin said: “There should be freedom of speech as long as it’s done in love,” adding that he believes it is unfortunate that in today’s world, “a black man, a black artist is uninvited from a civil rights movement depicting the love, the unity, the peace, the tolerance.”
Stand with us and Demand that Mayor Vincent Gray and the Washington, D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities Apologize For Discriminating Against Grammy-Award Winning Gospel Singer and Ex-Gay Donnie McClurkin!