Julian Bond: Maryland must end marriage discrimination

This week, we will see an historic vote in the Maryland State Senate on marriage equality. It sure looks like marriage supporters have secured the votes for passage, then it’s on to the House. Former NAACP chairman, Julian Bond, lent his support via an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun:

As a civil right activist, I have spent my life fighting to make ours a more just and fair society. That’s why I urge the Maryland General Assembly to support marriage equality and pass the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. I firmly believe that this is a matter of civil rights, equal protection and equality. Civil rights are positive legal prerogatives — the right to equal treatment before the law. These are rights shared by everyone; there is no one in the United States who does not — or should not — share in enjoying these rights. Discrimination is wrong no matter who the victim is. We cannot move toward full human rights protection and opportunity without confronting — and ending — homophobia. For it is homophobia that is at the root of denying the freedom to marry to gays and lesbians. As my late neighbor and friend, Coretta Scott King, said in 1998:

“Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.”

And in 2000 she added:

“We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say ‘common struggle’ because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender or ethnic discrimination.”

Very powerful. And, we’ll need Bond’s help if and when the new marriage law is forced on to the ballot in 2012.

Bond also writes about how “Loving v. Virginia” allowed he and his wife, Pam, to marry in Virginia. It shouldn’t have to ever go without saying our President’s parents benefited directly from their right to marry being recognized, as well. Imagine if that had been put to a public vote.

I hope President Obama reads Bond’s column and it helps him “evolve” already. Then again, maybe I should write, “evolve again” because he was once for it.

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