No on Prop. 8 Campaign Reaches Out to Black Voters

As marriage equality opponents galvanized in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles to target African-American voters, clergy members and other activists gathered just miles away to fight against California's upcoming ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriage.

BY Anne Stockwell

October 23 2008 12:00 AM ET

Five
African-American leaders came together in Los Angeles on
Tuesday to speak out against antigay Proposition 8,
reminding reporters that it’s old-school to
assume that the black community is more homophobic than
others.

"People tend to
look at the black community the way they look at any
community -- they make a sort of sweeping brushstroke of who
we are and what we are," said Doug Spearman, star of
the TV series Noah’s Arc and a board member of
Equality California. "We're standing here.… We
are as different as individuals can be. The point is,
we've all come together in a common cause to do
something. Whatever political party you support, it’s
about doing the right thing."

The conference
was held at the Lucy Florence Cultural Center in
L.A.’s Leimert Park -- despite the fact that
the Yes on 8 campaign had conveniently called a
conference starting at exactly the same time. "They
always do this," muttered one organizer, pacing and
checking his watch. But soon enough the people showed, the
cameras rolled, and the speeches began.

The Reverend Eric Lee, president, Southern
Christian Leadership Council of Los Angeles

The Southern
Christian Leadership Council is the only organization that
was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, and the entire core
of SCLS is about fighting for justice for all people
and against discrimination. As a result of that, this
issue of marriage equality requires that I speak out
against this proposition, because anytime any group of
people are denied the rights that are afforded to
another group of people, it is an issue of a violation
of civil rights, and we need to be clear about that.

The
disappointment is that there is an attempt for people to
impose a narrow theological view on relationships upon
everybody in every situation. And no one has the right
to do that. And for that reason I, along with the
SCLC…stand by your side, and we will stand with you
until justice is rendered, until you are ensured that
your rights will never be denied by any group of
people for any discriminatory reason. God bless you,
and I am with you.

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