Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, and Other Black Leaders' Open Letter to Obama
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
May 12 2012 12:12 PM ET
Four of the country's most influential African-American leaders issued a joint statement yesterday in support of President Obama's new stance championing marriage equality.
Reverend Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network; Julian Bond (pictured here), chairman emeritus of NAACP; Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; and the Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery, president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference all signed the following statement:
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As leaders in today’s Civil Rights Movement, we stand behind the President Obama’s belief that same sex couples should be allowed to join in civil marriages. We also affirm that individuals may hold different views on this issue but still work together towards our common goals: fair housing and equitable education, affordable health care and eradicating poverty, all issues of deep and abiding concern for our communities.
"President Obama stated his view that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. This is a view that we concur with, because as civil rights leaders we cannot fight to gain rights for some and not for all. At the same time, we acknowledge that the President stated his personal opinion, which everyone is entitled to – both those who agree with him, like us, and those who disagree. The President made clear that his support is for civil marriage for same-sex couples, and he is fully committed to protecting the ability of religious institutions to make their own decisions about their own sacraments.
"There will be those who seek to use this issue to divide our community. As a people, we cannot afford such division. It is our hope that conversations on strengthening African American families continue in a civil and respectful way, on all sides, both with those who support the ability of same-sex couples to marry, and those who do not.
"We are glad that President Obama has joined Dr. Joseph Lowery, Dr. Julian Bond and so many others in full embrace of equality for gay and lesbian individuals in our country. We also welcome the civil debate on this issue that will surely spring. And we encourage all individuals to keep all issues of import to our communities in mind in the days ahead, and we seek to secure equal justice, opportunity, and dignity for all God’s children."
- WATCH: Mom Affirms Her Love in Son's Coming-Out Video
- Wives Want To Know If Their Husbands Are Gay
- Op-ed: We're Here, We're Queer, We're Not Part of a Pair
- WATCH: The Best of LGBT Chorus Holiday Music
- Buck Angel Shuts Down Transgender Surgery Fundraising Site
- WATCH: Lesbian Friend Might Convert Kids, Says Pat Robertson
- Women 17 Reasons to Swoon Over Androgynous Model Harmony Boucher December 12 2013 8:48 PM
- Travel WestJet Showers Fliers With Holiday Gifts December 12 2013 8:18 PM
- Television 5 Reasons to Plug In to Masters of Sex December 12 2013 7:22 PM
- Travel VIDEO: Travel Helps People Live Longer, Says Study December 12 2013 6:35 PM
- Music WATCH: Melissa Etheridge Debuts Song to Help Gay Russians December 12 2013 6:08 PM
- Religion WATCH: Lesbian Friend Might Convert Kids, Warns Robertson December 12 2013 6:03 PM
- Women 3 Gay Lady-Related Golden Globe Nominations that Make Us Happy! December 12 2013 4:20 PM