As Massachusetts moved toward its historic approval of same-sex marriage rights, the Boston Ministerial Alliance engaged in a heated and hateful campaign to stop the effort. Their campaign included issuing a statement condemning gay marriage;
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.
But now, the individual who served as the group’s Executive Director at the time says the effort did not represent his beliefs.
In a strongly worded denial, Harold Sparrow (Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin’s nominee to serve on the Hartford Board of Education) released a statement in response to yesterday’s Wait, What? post entitled, Breaking News – Hartford Mayor nominates anti-gay marriage leader for vacancy on the Hartford School Board.
“I regret that a 2004 statement issued by the ministers of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, an organization for which I worked as an employee more than a decade ago, has raised questions about my personal views on equal rights for all. That statement does not reflect my personal views, nor does it reflect my personal faith. I want to say clearly and unequivocally that I support marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. — See https://www.facebook.com/MayorBronin/posts/613781482144501)
Although Reverend Harold Sparrow served as the Executive Director of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston form 2002 – 2007 and apparently coordinated the group’s activities including their political efforts, he now reports that their actions on gay rights did not represent his personal beliefs.
During the same period, the organization’s President was Bishop Gilbert Thompson.
The vitriolic tone of the debate can be seen in a variety of published documents in which Bishop Thompson condemned those who sought marriage equity.
The Boston Magazine quoted Bishop Thompson, president of the Black Ministerial Alliance as preaching,
“We are standing against demonic forces that are out to destroy not only marriage, but family…We are not against any person, but certainly we stand in favor of marriage being what it actually is — the union of a man and a woman,”
Boston Magazine went on to explain;
Thompson’s success in building up Jubilee has produced leverage felt well beyond his ministry. Especially in his role as president of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, an advocacy group that claims to represent more than 20,000 congregants, he’s often in the news—inveighing against abortion and same-sex marriage…”
Thompson was also the figure quoted in the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Report 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 leader as saying,
“The massive evidence from social science research shows unique benefits to society and especially to children of a wedded mother and father.”
Meanwhile, Harold Sparrow, who served as an anti-Elizabeth Warren spokesman for Republican Senator Scott Brown’s losing 2012 campaign will go before the Hartford City Council for approval for a seat on the Hartford Board of Education at a special council meeting on Monday, January 27, 2017.
The Scott campaign utilized Sparrow to mock Elizabeth Warren’s claim that she was of Native American heritage.
“Scott Brown, throughout this campaign, has taken on an issue that I think is very derogatory to” Warren and her claims to Native American heritage, said [Boston Mayor] Menino,
Scott Brown’s campaign responded by dispatching two African-American activists
One of the activists, Harold Sparrow, former executive director of the Black Ministerial Alliance, said Warren, not Brown, is to blame for the prolonged focus on her ethnic roots.
“It was a credibility issue that was raised, and Elizabeth Warren has said she should have responded sooner,” said Sparrow, who has been Brown’s friend since they were teammates on the Tufts University basketball team. “If she would have responded sooner, it would have gone away. But she didn’t.”
In May 2015, the YMCA of Greater Hartford selected Harold Sparrow to become its 5th President and CEO. He came to Connecticut from the YMCA of Greater Boston, where he served as Senior Vice President of Operations. Sparrow joined the YMCA of Greater Boston in 2007 after leaving his position at the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston.