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Posted at 03:27 PM ET, 03/08/2011

Russell Simmons, gay marriage and Maryland


Support for marriage equality among African Americans isn't confined to the old foot soldiersof the Civil Rights movement. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), NAACP chairman Julian Bond and the Rev. Al Sharpton got some pop-culture reinforcement yesterday from music mogul Russell Simmons.

Russell proclaims himself to be "a longtime supporter of marriage equality." And he urges viewers to "Make your voice heard. Stand up now for marriage equality."

Sure, Simmons is lending his voice to the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in the Empire State. But maybe, just maybe, his voice and that of Whoopi Goldberg and Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, will carry some weight with African Americans in Maryland. I'm thinking particularly of those in the General Assembly slated to vote on a marriage equality bill this week. Some of them are relying on backward arguments to oppose the measure or irrational fears of the impact it would have on black families. If seeing a successful black man such as Simmons express clear support for gay men and lesbians in committed loving relationship having the freedom to marry doesn't sway them, then maybe Colbert King will.

In his Friday post -- "Same-sex marriage isn't the threat to African American families" -- King expresses bewilderment at "the concentration of conservative black pastors on gay marriage when the real and present danger is the decline of marriage among African Americans." After laying out some damning statistics, King delivers this blunt assessment.

Gay, lesbian and transgender people and their desire to get married have nothing to do with the decline of marriage and family in the African American community. What ails us comes from within and from societal conditions unrelated to same-sex marriage. If anyone should know that, it's the black preacher.

Can I get an 'Amen!'?

By  |  03:27 PM ET, 03/08/2011

 
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