“I don’t care what the politicians think,” Mr. [Floyd] Flake, a former Democratic congressman and one of the city’s most influential religious leaders, thundered last week during a Sunday service at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Queens. “Ain’t nothing perfect about laying down and signing a license with somebody who got the same body parts you got.”
Mr. Flake went on for about two minutes, much to the delight of many in the pews, who cheered and applauded as the church organist punctuated the reverend’s words with notes from “I’ve Got a Woman,” by Ray Charles.
The sentiment, shared in many churches, would normally warrant little notice. Mr. Flake is the pastor of a predominantly black congregation in a community with a socially conservative tilt ”” hardly an unlikely spokesman for those opposed to same-sex marriage.
But Mr. Flake is also a mentor to the Senate majority leader, Malcolm A. Smith, who is among a handful of political leaders in Albany who will be responsible for the fate of same-sex marriage in New York.
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