LGBTQ activists criticize partnership between NYC hospital and controversial religious group
NEW YORK - At the end of March, a 68-bed field hospital was built in Central Park by Rev. Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse Christian organization. Its purpose was to treat dozens of coronavirus patients and ease the crowding at Mount Sinai.
However, LGBT leaders were concerned that the volunteers working with the group were asked to adhere to what they call a homophobic statement of faith that included the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
A press conference was organized Sunday by the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which provided social distancing for a handful of media outlets covering it. But soon, over two dozen police officers arrived and ordered the group to disperse and giving one woman a summons.
Natalie James, organizer of the Reclaim Pride Coalition said that their main concerns was that LGBTQ people with the coronavirus might not receive equal medical treatment at the facility.
Rev. Graham has been quoted as saying that they do not discriminate in delivering care on any basis, but the Reclaim Pride Coalition says it wants to find out how an organization like Samaritan’s Purse got invited to help New York City in the first place.
A spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio's office says that Samaritan's Purse is shutting down their operations in New York City, while a spokesperson from Mount Sinai hospital says anyone they work with must adhere to their non-discrimination policies,, and that Samaritan's Purse has saved hundreds of lives.