Pictured Karen Hutt and Robert Castillo spoke at a Town Hall meeting on marriage Jan. 15. Photos by Tracy Baim
Everybody grab a soda, bottled water, cup of coffee, or 40 ounce because we need to talk about the M-word. Now it's not about men but it is about men. We do not often speak of the M-word in our community. OK now take a sip and I am going to say the M-word ... marriage. Yes boys and boys, marriage.
It has become the burning topic among same-gender-loving folks ... everywhere. Really. Now a bill is working its way through the House of Representatives as you take that second sip. Yes indeed the Federal Marriage Amendment would clearly define that marriage is between a man (note how men still get preeminence) and a woman. This would change the face of our United States Constitution and our lives. Now for those of you who have forgotten your civics lessons, a constitutional amendment must be passed by both houses of Congress and then ratified by 2/3 of the States. If successful it would then become the law.
President George Bush has stepped into the debate supporting marriage between a man and a woman. This announcement came shortly after two critical decisions in 2003. The high court of the great state of Massachusetts said the state should allow same-sex marriage. Yes, the real hook up. The other major event was the U.S. Supremes passing down a momentous decision to end all sodomy laws in Texas and throughout the country.
What would Dr. Martin Luther King say? A poll, by Gallup and CNN/USA Today, concluded that since the Supreme Court overturned Texas's anti-sodomy law in June, support for gay marriage dropped precipitously in the Black community. Before the decision, when African Americans were asked whether homosexual relationships should be legal, 58 percent said yes; afterward that figure dropped to 36 percent.
There are many in the Black community who support same-sex marriages and we should line up right behind them en mass with our support. The great human and civil-rights activist Coretta Scott King and Dorothy Height, the longtime leader of the National Council of Negro Women. Former pres. candidate Carol Moseley Braun also supports gay marriage, as does the only Black man in the presidential race, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Congressman John Lewis has spoken out forcefully in favor of gay marriage.
I think that Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party, in his essay 'A Letter From Huey to the Revolutionary Brothers and Sisters About the Women's Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements,' said it best, calling for a more humanistic view of gender and sexuality. The struggle of oppression must be addressed on every level.
Now what are you going to do? It's time to speak truth to power. Our rights as citizens are based on our participation in the governing process. This is a moment in time to stand up and let it be known that our love is no better and no worse.
The newly formed National Black Justice Coalition (NBJ) will start a nationwide campaign to generate Black support for marriage equality and the fight against the recently proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. NBJ is an ad hoc coalition of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered community leaders, public figures and activists. Members include Ken Reeves, City Councilor, Cambridge, Mass.; Donna Payne, Human Rights Campaign; Keith Boykin, author; and longtime activist Mandy Carter of the Freedom To Marry Steering Committee. Consider what your voice will add and I hope you had a relaxing beverage while we chatted. Yes it is truly time for the real hook up. Get your rings ready.