The National Organization for Marriage will conclude its summer hate tour on August 15 on the steps of the United States Capitol in Washington. The "Summer Marriage Tour" has been poorly attended so far but the final event may draw a crowd: Grammy Award gospel megastar Karen Clark Sheard and Dietrick Haddon.
Sheard is the former member of the The Clark Sisters, the best-selling female gospel group in history. Their iconic 1980's hit "You Brought The Sunshine" was the among the first gospel singles to became a major crossover hit on contemporary R&B radio. Sheard has performed with Donnie McClurkin and last January, the duo received a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance. Sheard is a member of the Church of God in Christ—the largest Pentecostal denomination in the United States and well known for attracting many closeted black gay men, many of whom are her biggest fans, adds Darian Aaron.
Sheard and her siblings are often credited for blending the sound of popular music with gospel. Sheard's brand of gospel music along with her daughter's, gospel sensation Kiera Sheard is no stranger to gays and lesbians and can be frequently heard inside gay clubs. If there was any doubt regarding where Sheard stood on LGBT rights, despite being apart of an industry and a religious denomination overflowing with gay and lesbian people, her upcoming performance in support of stripping a segment of the American population of their civil rights will deliver a strong answer. It's a sad day when a voice that has the power to heal and unite people is being used as a weapon of mass destruction.
Detroit-based gospel singer and minister Deitrick Haddon will also perform. Haddon was the first major name in black gospel music to speak out against fellow gospel singer Tonex's confirmation of his long-rumored sexuality. "All Gospel singers are not Gay as I don’t have a sissy bone in my body," Haddon ranted on Twitter.
NOM is apparently attempting to partner with the rabidly anti-gay COGIC, which is the nation's second-largest black denomination. In June NOM presented the top two COGIC male and female leaders with an award. And last week, COGIC's San Diego Bishop Bishop George McKinney issued a statement—curiously, through NOM—blasting Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's Proposition 8 ruling.
Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights legend Dr. Martin Luther King, headlined NOM's poorly-attended Atlanta rally over the weekend. But the August 15 rally will be undoubtedly have the largest marquee names on NOM's hate tour. Will Karen Clark Sheard and Deitrick Haddon be able to attract a crowd? And will Karen Clark Sheard's performance at the NOM rally hurt her standing among her many Black gay fans? The first question remains to be seen but sadly, I think we all know the answer to that last question ...
UPDATE: NOM is no longer advertising Karen Clark Sheard's appearance. NOM's website now only lists Deitrick Haddon for August 15.