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African-American Marine Veteran Launches Marriage Equality PAC In Illinois

MarqMarquell Smith, a former US Marine who fought his own discharge under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT), and subsequently fought the discriminatory law itself, aiding in the ultimate repeal of DADT, has formed a new political action committee aimed at getting people of color involved in the fight for marriage equality in Illinois, according to The Chicago-Sun Times:

Smith had spent some time in Springfield talking to lawmakers about the issue. When he did, he noticed something about others who were doing the same.

“There were very few minorities,” Smith said. “I was getting a feeling that there weren’t a lot of people standing up who looked like me. The whole idea behind this is to get citizens to really stand up and get people of color to get behind [same-sex] marriage" [...]

On Thursday night, he launched the Inclusive Community Project Political Action Committee, holding the first fund-raiser to help lobby representatives through trips to Springfield, phone banks, “and peaceful, orderly protests at district offices."

Smith is working to engage a community he believes has been wrongly labeled as being anti-gay marriage. He points to a poll that shows 60% support for gay marriage among African Americans:

“My goal is to go out and find those 60 percent of African Americans [and urge them] to go to their lawmakers,” Smith said. “I believe that when you harness the power of the people, you can accomplish so much.”

Earlier this year a much anticipated marriage equality bill fizzled and left uncertain the path forward for marriage equality in the Land of Lincoln. Hopefully, Smith's efforts will help reignite Illinois's campaign for equality.

(Photo via Facebook)

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  1. Excellent--if gay, black men had been as active in trying to eradicate homophobia in their own community as gay, white men have been, then we might have made a lot more progress by now.

    One reason for the resistance among blacks to gay rights has been that they have perceived that the beneficiaries of such rights will be a bunch of privileged white boys, so why should they support it?

    And the only way that will change is if gay black men themselves change that perception.

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 11, 2013 12:03:00 PM

  2. Good luck to you Mr. Smith. I mean that sincerely, am not being sarcastic.

    I certainly agree all people, including of course black folks, should be judged as individuals, not as a group or stereotype. That said, every poll and voting trend I've seen shows black folks [looked at as a single demographic/group] are some of the most anti-gay in America. I personally believe this is due to the heavy influence of the pentecostal and evangelical southern based churches many black Americans associate with or were at least raised in. They make the RC Church seem ultra liberal by comparison. Even Mormons come across as reasonable by comparison.

    No, I'm not a hater, and don't hate people who identify with one of these what I consider extremist evangelical or pentecostal churches. They just need to be endless reminded and told it's not OK to persecute or attempt to persecute homosexuals, and that many Christians don't interpret the teachings of Jesus Christ as they do.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 11, 2013 2:09:44 PM

  3. Ratbastard, if black people were more homophobic than white people then all of these anti marriage equality laws wouldn't have been passed, and the GOP wouldn't try so hard to pander to their base by acting like gay people are sub humans.

    Posted by: Cadence | Oct 11, 2013 3:33:22 PM

  4. @Cadence - that's exactly right. It wasn't a black President that gave you DADT or DOMA and the meriad of other anti marriage laws throughout the country pushed by the 2010 Tea-Party State(s) legistative sweep. Very few minorities voted for those candidates which only leaves... Further, there's NOM, FRC, Pat Robinson, Bryan Fischer, and Justice Scalia (A Supreme Court Justice whos vote could potentially effect everyone in the country - not a big fan of "the gay").

    Posted by: Belthazar | Oct 11, 2013 4:15:39 PM

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