Some representatives have cited traditional religious beliefs as a reason they voted "no" on civil unions, and will likely vote "no" to marriage equality. It breaks my heart that any elected leader would use the good people in African- American churches as justification to limit the rights of others, based on the prejudices of how we were raised.
Like you I'm African-American. I learned that the struggles of our people are a symbol of hope for those being discriminated against. We cannot let an important vehicle of past struggles —African-American churches— become the gatekeepers of the rights to dignity of others. Who are we to deny someone else the right to marry because we don't agree with who they love?
Equality begins when people in positions of power enable everyone to live lives of decency and dignity, free from any prejudice in the law. Black folks did not want anyone's permission to live freely; we can not rest until this dream is realized for everyone. Despite our legacy we are now the very people denying others their equal rights. I'm inclined to believe that we can do better but we can't do it without your support.
Marquell is an ex-Marine who is pleading for black lawmakers in the Illinois House to vote "yes" on Marriage Equality. Please read the rest of his letter.