A coalition of prominent African-American pastors on Friday will announce their support for gay marriage, in particular Maryland's upcoming referendum.

The coalition, led by the Rev. Delman Coates, senior pastor of the Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland, will make their announcement during a press conference at the National Press Club. The Rev. Al Sharpton, president and CEO of the National Action Network, is expected to speak at the event.

“The group of pastors that will assemble have a range of personal religious views and church practices as it relates to same sex marriage,” Coates said in a statement. “Some perform same sex marriages and others do not. And yet, we stand united in the conviction that the role of the state is to protect the equal rights of all its citizens and should not codify discrimination as a matter of law and public policy.”

Maryland voters in November will decide whether to uphold a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers or repeal it.

“I can fully support the Civil Marriage Protection Act because it in no way forces any church to acknowledge or perform same sex marriages if it is incompatible with its beliefs,” said Rev. Todd Yeary, senior pastor of the Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore. “This is about protecting all families and ensuring that we have a society where everyone is treated equally as a matter of law without the imposition of religious dogma.”

Earlier, the Coalition of African-American Pastors, led by Bill Owens, condemned President Barack Obama for his endorsement of gay marriage.

“The impression that all African-American pastors are fundamentally opposed to the idea of marriage equality is wrong,” Coates said.

(Related: Obama's gay marriage support is like waving your thing at God, Bill Owens says.)