Civil rights icon Julian Bond says Maryland must end discrimination and pass the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. "Discrimination is wrong no matter who the victim is," the strong supporter of LGBT rights and former longtime chairman of the NAACP says in a Baltimore Sun op-ed.
We cannot move toward full human rights protection and opportunity without confronting — and ending — homophobia. For it is homophobia that is at the root of denying the freedom to marry to gays and lesbians. As my late neighbor and friend, Coretta Scott King, said in 1998: "Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood."
Three years ago we celebrated the 40th anniversary of a case aptly called Loving v. Virginia, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws and, many years later, allowed my wife, Pam, and me to marry in the state that declares "Virginia is for lovers." Then, as now, proponents of marriage-as-is invoked "God's plan." The trial judge who sentenced the Lovings said that when God created the races: "He placed them on separate continents. … The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." God seems to have made room in his plan for interracial marriage. He will no doubt do the same for same-sex marriage.
Standing for the freedom to marry is about supporting all families, but I would be remiss without highlighting the impact that this inequality has on black same-sex couples, who statistically are already economically disadvantaged compared to their straight sisters and brothers. In comparison to black opposite-sex couples and white same-sex couples, black same-sex couples are more likely to parent children and earn a lower annual income. The lack of marriage rights negatively affects black same-sex couples because they are also more likely to work in the public sector, relying on health insurance that is often only afforded to married couples.
Read the full op-ed HERE ...
You may recall that Bond refused to attend the February 2006 funeral of Coretta Scott King that was held at Bishop Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. "I just couldn't imagine that she'd want to be in that church with a minister who was a raving homophobe," Bond said. Speaking in September of the four sexual coercion lawsuits filed against Long, if the allegations are true, Bond noted, "it will be a sad victory for gay rights."