WASHINGTON, D.C., August 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray admitted Monday that he made the final decision to remove gospel singer Donnie McClurkin from the lineup of performers at a city-sponsored concert held Saturday at the Martin Luther King memorial in response to complaints by gay activists. 

McClurkin was to have been a headline performer at the event , called “Reflections on Peace: Ghandi to King,” which marked the beginning of a planned series of events to commemorate King’s life during the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

But on Friday, several homosexual activists contacted the mayor’s office to complain about McClurkin’s inclusion in the show because the gospel singer is a vocal ex-gay who believes homosexuality is a “curse” which can be overcome through prayer and determination.  They threatened to protest the event if he was allowed to perform.  Soon after, it was announced that McClurkin would no longer be part of the program. 

Initially, the mayor’s office claimed McClurkin had volunteered to step aside.  “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,” said Gray’s spokeswoman, Doxie McCoy. “Mayor Gray said the purpose of the event is to promote peace and harmony. That is what King was all about.”

But on Saturday, McClurkin posted a video to social media claiming there was nothing mutual about the decision, and that the mayor’s office told him not to come. 

On Monday, Gray confirmed McClurkin’s account, telling the Washington Post, “This was an issue involving a potential controversy at an event that was going to focus on harmony and peace, and we just didn’t think that was appropriate for this event.”

McClurkin said the decision was made to placate a group of 15-20 homosexual activists.  “Fifteen or twenty people,” the gospel singer said, shaking his head, “compared to thousands upon thousands who were coming out to worship Jesus.”

McClurkin said that church pastors throughout the city offered to take responsibility for the event if he was allowed to sing, but the mayor refused. 

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Said McClurkin, “This is bullying.  It’s intolerance.  And it is depriving someone of their civil rights when they are told that they cannot come to an event, [because] by coming it would cause a disruption.” 

This is not the first time former homosexuals have been subjected to campaigns of intimidation by gay activists in the nation’s capital. 

The kickoff event for the first-ever “Ex-Gay Pride Month,” scheduled to be held at Family Research Council headquarters in D.C., was postponed last month after threats of protests and violence by gay activists.

And in 2007, at a county fair in the nearby suburb of Arlington, angry homosexual activists harassed and assaulted a group of ex-gays and members of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) at their fair booth.

Last year, a metro Washington school district was sued by PFOX after the superintendent publicly told students that the group’s flyers offering information on unwanted same-sex attraction and urging tolerance for those who leave the homosexual lifestyle were “reprehensible and deplorable” and labeled their contention that sexual orientation can be changed “a really, really disgusting message.”  

In 2008, an American Psychological Association symposium on the role of religion in homosexual therapy to be held at the Washington Convention Center was canceled under pressure from gay activists who worried the panel might lend credibility the notion that individuals can overcome their homosexual inclinations, either through reparative therapy or other means.

"Conservatives … were going to use this event to draw credibility to the so-called reparative therapy movement,” Gene Robinson, the openly homosexual then-bishop of the Episcopal Church told the Washington Blade gay news outlet at the time, taking partial credit for the symposium’s cancellation. “It became clear to me in the last couple of weeks that just my showing up and letting this event happen…lends credibility to that so-called therapy."

On Capitol Hill, some Democratic legislators have called for an outright ban on such therapies.  One California congresswoman introduced a resolution in the last session of Congress called “Stop Harming Our Kids” that condemns therapies aimed at changing sexual orientation, and urges states to introduce laws banning their use with minors.

“Let’s get this straight,” Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) said, summing up gay activists’ objections to the ex-gay movement: “Being gay, lesbian [or] transgender is not a disease to be cured or a mental health issue to be treated.”