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|Anti-gay Pastor Eddie Long accused of coercing men into having sex|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|September 21, 2010 17:12|
Two men have filed suits Tuesday in DeKalb County alleging Pastor Eddie Long coerced them into having sex with him, according to a report by CNN.
The men state in their lawsuits that Long, pastor of the anti-gay mega-church New Birth Missionary Baptist Church located in Lithonia, used his authority as pastor and bishop to force them into sex, the CNN report states.
One of the plaintiffs, Anthony Flagg, 21, alleges in his lawsuit that he went on several overnight trips with Long when the coerced sex took place.
“Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact," the suit says, according to CNN.
Long’s spokesperson denied the accusations to CNN on Tuesday.
“We categorically deny the allegations,” said Art Franklin.
"It is very unfortunate that someone has taken this course of action," he said. "Our law firm will be able to respond once attorneys have had an opportunity to review the lawsuit,” Franklin added.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in 2007 that Long "is one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement."
In 2004, Long led his church of some 20,000 members to support the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Georgia. This included leading a march through the city of Atlanta to the Martin Luther King Center with Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., marching at his side.
In 2006, the SPLC reported, "Long extended an invitation to gays and lesbians looking for a 'cure' to attend a 'Sexual Orientation and Reorientation' conference at New Birth."
When Coretta Scott King died in 2006, her funeral was held at New Birth much to the chagrin of many LGBT supporters. Mrs. King spoke at Atlanta Pride and was outspoken about her support for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Because the funeral was held there, Harry Belafonte, the actor, refused to attend as did Julian Bond, chairperson of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
"I knew her [Coretta Scott King's] attitude toward gay and lesbian rights," Bond told AOL Black Voices, according to the SPLC report. "I just couldn't imagine that she'd want to be in that church with a minister who was a raving homophobe."
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