The Missionary Baptist Ministers' Conference of Washington, D.C. and Vicinity wants Mayor Vincent Gray to apologize for insulting Chick-fil-A and those who support traditional marriage.
"Mayor Gray has not only insulted the CEO of Chick-fil-A, but he has embarrassed many residents of the District of Columbia by issuing such a ridiculous and juvenile tweet, '#hatechicken,'" said the Rev. Patrick J. Walker, president of the ministers group, in a statement Wednesday. "It is simply inappropriate for an elected official who represents all citizens of the District of Columbia."
Gray expressed his opposition to the fast-food chain last month via Twitter, stating, "Given my longstanding strong support for LGBT rights & marriage equality, I would not support #hatechicken."
The tweet came after elected officials in other cities such as Boston and Chicago threatened to block the restaurant from opening in their cities because it "discriminates" against the LGBT community.
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy sparked national debate last month when he said he believes in the biblical family unit and that same-sex marriage was bringing God's judgment on the nation.
Gray acknowledged in another tweet that he cannot legally bar the restaurant from Washington, D.C., but he said, "I oppose their support of antigay groups."
"I have been a strong supporter of marriage equality & other LGBT rights for years. The President (Obama) finally caught up," he added, in response to questions followers presented on Twitter.
The Missionary Baptist Ministers' Conference of Washington, D. C. and Vicinity asserted that anyone who opposes same-sex marriage based upon personal or religious convictions "should not be unfairly targeted or labeled as one who espouses hate," as Gray had implied in his tweet (#hatechicken).
"Those of us who opposed same sex marriage, have also lovingly embraced members of the LBGT community and stood alongside of them on many issues that affect our entire community," the group stated.
It also pointed out that by favoring the rights of one group, the mayor ultimately negated the rights of another.
"It is our hope that should Chick-fil-A ever consider expanding in the District of Columbia, that they have the right to do so without undue and unethical hindrances from the Mayor's office. WE CALL FOR AN IMMEDIATE PUBLIC APOLOGY BY THE MAYOR FOR SUCH AN OFFENSIVE STATEMENT," the ministers group asserted.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington, D.C., in 2009. The D.C. Council approved bill was signed into law by former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.
The Missionary Baptist Ministers' Conference, organized in 1885, consists of a local body of Christian pastors and ministers who are affiliated with several national conventions.