Breaking News – Hartford Mayor nominates anti-gay marriage leader for vacancy on the Hartford School Board

Yesterday, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin nominated Harold Sparrow, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford, to serve on the Hartford Board of Education.

As the Hartford Courant explained, Bronin is now trying to persuade the Hartford City Council to hold a rush vote on Sparrow’s nomination, apparently trying to get a vote as early as this coming Monday, January 30, 2017

Harold Sparrow is new to Hartford, having been appointed President of the Hartford YMCA in the spring of 2015.  His principal experience was serving with the Boston YMCA and as Executive Director of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston from 2002 – 2007.

In support of Sparrow, Bronin was quoted as praising his nominee for his “extensive experience in organizational leadership and management.”

Bronin is either unaware or worse, intentionally overlooked, the critical role that Harold Sparrow played in opposing gay rights and marriage equality when he was working in Massachusetts.

As leader of the BMA of Greater Boston, Harold Sparrow played a leadership position in the organization’s high-profile opposition to gay rights and marriage equity.

According to the Boston Globe, Sparrow’s organization was the key signatory on an anti-gay, hateful letter dated February 7, 2004 that read,

It is with a clear conscience that the Black Ministerial Alliance adds our voice to those speaking on the subject of marriage


We believe marriage to be a unique covenant established between a man and a woman…

We acknowledge the pain and suffering of the men and women in the gay and lesbian community who are in long term relationships. However, given the most recent opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court eliminating the possibility of Civil Unions, we support the call for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman.

The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc.

Covering Sparrow and the Black Ministerial Alliance, the Boston Phoenix added,

“BMA does not keep its religion separate from any of its activities. Sparrow keeps a large VOTE FOR JESUS sign in his office window. When BMA has been in the news, at least in recent years, it’s usually to register the group’s strong opposition to gay marriage.”

Also in 2004, PBS (the national Public Broadcasting Service) ran a special report on Black Churches and Gay Marriage, quoting a representative of the Boston Ministerial Alliance as saying,

“It offends me that the proponents of same-sex marriage are trying to incorporate discrimination language in their argument. As an African American, I know something about discrimination. I was born black! It was not a decision on my part.”

The report went on to quote the BMA representative as saying,

“The massive evidence from social science research shows unique benefits to society and especially to children of a wedded mother and father.”

Now Mayor Bronin appears ready – intentionally or unintentionally – to bring that type of thinking to the Hartford School Board.

  • Jeffrey Wright

    Am I missing something? Where is the hateful part?

    It’s somewhat more than amazing that one’s faith in God and and belief
    In traditional Judeo-Christian values is now considered extreem and hateful.
    If we’re going to be ” fair and open minded “, then exactly why should a voice
    for traditional values be silenced? Secondly,……..has anyone bothered to ask the
    residents of Hartford what they want, or is that irrelevant?

    • gendercrucial

      Queer and trans kids are at a loss for protection and suffer extensive discrimination. This isn’t about preferences and traditional values so much as the dignity of human existence. It’s a little silly and reductive to ask for biblical values in a time of constant change and, dare I say, transition.