Thursday, January 05, 2006

Atlanta SSM/Gay-Rights Summit

Lest we believe (that word!) that all African-American ministers are fundy homophobes, consider this month's two-day summit on gay rights and same-sex marriage. A post on Talk To Action by Michelle Goldberg alerts us to the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) conference in Atlanta.

In a wee irony, it opens on January 19th, Robert E. Lee's birthday and a traditional Southern holiday, which is close to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. However, this has a different flavor, concentrating on strategies to challenge homophobia from the pulpits of Black churches.

The summit includes numerous heavy hitters from Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson, Peter Gomes and Al Sharpton. The board and supporters of the sponsoring NBJC reads like a playbill of the civil-rights cast.

They put the lie to the bluster about SSM and gay-rights efforts being an affront to the centuries of Black struggle in America. From Julian Bond to Joycelyn Elders to Coretta Scott King, the positions are clear that limiting rights to one class of citizen or trying to strip them is a matter of civil rights.

The press release for the conference includes:
The Summit is a direct response to anti-marriage proponents pandering to the black church for their own agenda. It is imperative that religious leaders realize and recognize the contributions of the LGBT community and the impact marriage discrimination will have on African American children and families.
For anyone who requires a little clarity about how tromping on SSM hurts Blacks, the NBJC site includes an excellent report Jumping the Broom in PDF. This is from the Equality Maryland Foundation.

Note: Look for the Boston Globe's Derrick Jackson (an NGJC supporter) to report on the summit.

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