African Americans should support gay marriage, longtime civil rights activist and former NAACP board chairman Julian Bond says.
In an opinion piece published in the Afro-American Newspapers
in Baltimore, Bond writes: “My own cousin had to go to Canada to marry the man he loved. So it’s probably time the country started talking about the issue in more diverse terms – and time the African-American community started, well, talking about it.”
He encourages black Maryland residents to support a referendum on the state’s same-sex marriage bill signed into law in March by Gov. Martin O’Malley. “Same-sex marriage supporters . . . have a 14-point lead . . . Most telling, African Americans in the state are now evenly divided. A year ago a majority was opposed,” Bond writes.
He noted how many blacks were swayed by endorsements earlier this year from President Barack Obama and the NAACP itself. “They yanked marriage for black gay and lesbian couples out of the closet,” Bond writes.
Passing the referendum would especially be significant for Maryland. The issue is on the ballot in four states.
“It would be the first state below the Mason-Dixon line where marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples is legal,” Bond writes. “No more fingers can be pointed at African Americans for standing in the way of equality.”
He also noted how a win would “deal a serious blow to the National Organization for Marriage, whose admitted strategy is to ‘drive a wedge between gays and blacks.’ NOM needs to stop using Black people for their anti-gay crusade.”
Bond added: “Even Republicans are getting in the act. Were it not for GOP lawmakers in New Hampshire and Maryland earlier this year and New York last, marriage equality would not be legal in those states.”
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