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Same-sex marriage
campaign seeks support from people of color

Same-sex marriage
campaign seeks support from people of color

A new initiative seeks to counter pressure on people of color to oppose same-sex marriage.

As public support for same-sex marriage grows in states across the country, pressure on communities of color from antigay religious forces is growing as well. To address the issue, five national organizations on Monday announced a new initiative to elevate the representation of people of color who support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

"The right wing has perpetuated the idea that people of color are overwhelmingly against marriage for same-sex couples. It is important that people see this for what it is--a half-baked myth that needs correcting," said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of the gay advocacy group Lambda Legal. "We are very pleased to have such strong coalition partners in this effort. Together we can reach many communities who need to see that marriage equality matters to people of color."

Lambda Legal, the National Black Justice Coalition, Asian Equality, the National Latina/o Coalition for Justice, and Freedom to Marry have teamed up to spearhead the Marriage Equality Matters campaign, which reaches out not only to communities of color but white audiences as well. Using banner ads on Internet sites and other media, the initiative, launched in conjunction with Freedom to Marry Week, February 12-18, will feature African-American, Latino/a, and Asian-Pacific American people, gay and nongay, standing up in support of ending discrimination in marriage.

"Same-gender-loving black families have more to lose if /when we are denied the responsibilities and protections of marriage," said H. Alexander Robinson, chief executive officer of the National Black Justice Coalition. "On average, black same-gender-loving women are more likely to be raising children, black gay families earn less and are more likely to have public sector jobs than our white peers. The black family is a fundamental driver of black advancement, so discriminatory policies that act to further marginalize black gay families put the entire black community at risk."

"The most important thing Latinas/os can do is to be vocal and open about our support for justice and equality," said Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, national convener for the National Latina/o Coalition for Justice. "Marriage equality will become a reality--we know it, our opposition knows it--hence the desperation to create the illusion that Latinas/os don't believe in marriage for same-sex couples. Protecting our familias is core to us. Marriage equality will guarantee security and justice for all Latino families, and that is worth fighting for."

"Marriage equality matters to Asian-Pacific Americans because it confers important protections for our families, and nothing is more important to our community than making sure our families are safe, healthy, and intact," said Andy Shie Kee Wong, coalition manager for Asian Equality. "Indeed, for many APA same-sex couples, this struggle for equality is as much about challenging our second-class status as it is about safeguarding our families and children." (Advocate.com)

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