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2004-05-01

This article shared 3822 times since Sat May 1, 2004
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'Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.' — Coretta Scott King, the widow of slain civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., speaking at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey as part of its Distinguished Lecture series.

'I am opposed to any amendment that seeks to write discrimination into the Constitution. I believe amending the Constitution on this issue is an irrational and radical step that seeks to undermine the civil rights of our citizens.' — Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., against the gay marriage ban.

'For some time now, I've heard African-Americans argue that it's not fair for gay people to compare their quest for equal rights with the civil-rights movement. Last week, several dozen African-American pastors rallied at a church in the Atlanta area and signed a declaration of opposition to gay marriage. They added that they were appalled at the way same-sex marriage advocates have co-opted the civil rights movement. ... Those who don't appreciate the comparison say it's unfair because gays never had to endure slavery; weren't systematically denied the opportunity to read or write; didn't suffer Jim Crow laws; and aren't readily recognizable as gay unless they choose to be. Folk who don't like the gay rights-civil rights link also suggest that being gay is a lifestyle choice unlike being born a certain hue. They say gay white men always have had more privileges than African Americans. Well, it's true that the two movements don't perfectly parallel one another. But it's not necessary that they do. The goal of the civil rights movement was to change unjust laws. And, right now, many marriage statutes across the country in some way or another restrict marriage to a man and a woman. ... While the two movements don't perfectly parallel one another, ironically they do intersect on the issue of marriage. For a long time, racists believed it an outrageous proposition for people of different races to marry. ... When the U.S. Supreme Court finally voided the so-called anti-miscegenation statutes in 1967, 16 states still had them on their books. South Carolina and Alabama removed their statutes only within the last five years.' — Dawn Turner Trice in her March 29 Chicago Tribune column.

'Shame on you, Jesse Jackson. Shame. I have listened with the patience of Job to the debate over gay marriage. I have watched as liberals and conservatives, clerics and politicians, activists and housewives have all carved out predictable parcels in the rhetorical landscape—digging in, preparing for inevitable political battle. But if you have been an observer of U.S. political

theater as long as I have, none of this is new. What was new and gravely disappointing, however, were the recent comments on this issue by Rev. Jackson—a man I have long respected for his unrelenting work in the name of social justice. During a recent address at Harvard Law School, Jackson said: 'The comparison with slavery is a stretch in that some slave masters were gay, in that gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution and in that they did not require the Voting Rights Act to have the right to vote.' ... Saying that some slave masters were gay not only aligns the gay community with white oppressors but also tries to circumvent the obvious corollary that some slaves, therefore, were also gay. When Jackson suggests that gays 'were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution,' he ignores the fact that this is precisely what we will be doing if we pass a constitutional amendment abridging the right to civil marriage among that class of citizens known as gays and lesbians. We will be writing into the Constitution an amendment that denies the right of civil marriage for one group of citizens while reserving that right for others.' — Black gay author and professor Dwight A. McBride, writing in the Chicago Tribune March 28. McBride is chairman of the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University.

'There is certainly much to be said about the racism found in the gay and lesbian community. There is much to be said about the overwhelming use of white faces to represent that community in mainstream media. Still, blacks must own up to the fact that we do the same thing when it comes to our ideas about the black community. We exclude gays and lesbians.' — Dwight A. McBride.


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