LOS ANGELES: BLACK GROUPS DEFEND SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Publicly announcing they were stepping into the battle for
same-sex marriage, a crowd of over 50 African American activists
and religious leaders gathered in historic Leimert Park in South
Central Los Angeles on March 18. They challenged Los Angeles
Mayor James Hahn to formally oppose the federal constitutional
marriage amendment. And they demanded that California State
Attorney General Bill Lockyer stop his attempts to outlaw
The event was organized by Jasmyne Cannick from the National
Black Justice Coalition, who said: "The Black community is too
smart and too strong to be divided over this issue. The fight
for marriage equality is
a civil right."
"We cannot allow the U.S. Constitution to be used to deny
people their rights," said Vallerie Wagner, a longtime
lesbian activist. "This fight is about the 1,049 civil
rights denied same-sex couples," said Executive Director
Lisa Powell of United Lesbians of African Heritage.
Phil Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute,
said: "As an African American, this issue is simple. I
believe in one America with one set of rights, privileges and
responsibilities for all citizens. I think African Americans
should resist at all cost any effort to codify the notion of
different classes of citizenship."
Jewel and Rue Williams, an African American couple for 16 years,
spoke on how legal recognition of their relationship would
enable them to provide for each other as they grew older.
Ebony Lane and her transgender partner thanked both the LGBT and
African American communities for uniting on this issue, and
urged that all stay united in the fight against discrimination
and for equality.
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