California Baptist Pastor Who Came Out In Support Of His Gay Son To Attend White House Pride Reception


Danny Cortez, the pastor of the New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California will attend a White House reception today along with his fifteen-year old son Drew in honor of Pride month as a guest of President Obama, Pink News reports. Cortez made headlines earlier this month when he announced to his congregation that his son was gay and that he sought to welcome the LGBT community to his church. Some within the Baptist community branded him an ‘apostate’ for contravening The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) constitution that states “explicitly that any congregation that endorses homosexual behavior is 'not in cooperation with the Convention,' and thus excluded from its membership.” Cortez’s own congregation, however, voted to keep him as pastor and become a ‘Third Way’ church.  

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fd19ffc9970b-250wiThe New Heart church also issued a statement of support for Cortez and his family:

"As you know, the Cortez family has recently been under fire for reaching out to those in the LGBT community, who have been marginalized far too long.

“If you know Danny like we do, this is not out of character for him. He’s been standing in the gap, and seeking truth, and fighting for justice, and defending the widow, and loving the homeless—for years and years.

“He leads his family, he shepherds a church, and he has been there for you and me when we’ve needed him most. For good reason, we call him pastor."

Danny and Drew Cortez raised money for their travel to Washington, D.C. through a a successful crowd funding campaign. 


  1. Alex Parrish says

    This is a heartwarming story. I think it would happen in more places if congregations weren’t so afraid of the national bureaucracy of the various churches. The more that individual congregations take this kind of response, the sooner the national churches will change. All evidence points out that people who know LGBT people are far more accepting than those who think they do not know any LGBT people. When congregations discover, as this church did, that some of the folks they already love are LGBT change will happen.

  2. Gay Guy says

    But can a Catholic Church pull this off (even if the parishioners are on board)? They way they are chartered, the archdiocese controls everything and would simply remove (and possibly defrock) the priest and ignore the parishioners whose money built the church. They might even close the church and sell the property to private developers.

    Also, there are probably a lot of other churches that are chartered in a similar fashion.

  3. Agasga says

    Alex is correct. Most mainstream denominations in the US have a bureaucracy that owns the real estate, even when local people bought the property, built the buildings and pay for upkeep. The Southern Baptists’ structure, for all their faults, includes autonomous local ownership and control of physical assets. Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Catholics and most other large denominations cannot buck the national hierarchy without risking loss of their buildings.

    That said, it is incredibly tiresome that the rest of us have to be grateful for crumbs such as this because of a national mass devotion to mythology.

  4. bandanajack says

    agasga, you were almost right. baptist theology states that each congregation is autonomous, and so it was with baptist beliefs all over the map. it was falwell who got the bright idea to control the seminaries and created the SBC, and then with the power consolidated, and ministers forced to sign loyalty oaths to become credentialed, the income from the churches gave the SBC more power to give and take, and created a fund that all the individual churches got the benefits from. to get kicked out of the SBC as man congregations have done, means the milk train doesn’t stop there any more.

    in short, it is the BAPTIST structure that you are admiring, and southern baptist is a sect of that denomination, the tail wagging the dog.

  5. Agasga says

    Bandanajack, I do not admire anything about Baptists, Southern or otherwise. I am simply pointing out that Southern Baptist churches, like the one in this story, own their own buildings and can, if they choose, leave the SBC. There are likely other denominations, of course, including other Baptist groups, that also enjoy local control.