U.S. Congressman and civil rights legend John Lewis (D-GA) makes it look so easy and logical. He is an ally who has not only shed blood for the black civil rights movement, but speaks as a man of faith — he graduated from the American Baptist Theological Seminary. John Lewis believes in full civil equality. As with the great Coretta Scott King, John Lewis sees all discrimination as wrong, and that our committed relationships deserve the same legal rights and respect as heterosexual marriage. We are all part of the same American quilt. (GayAgenda):

“It is unfortunate that a segment of our society fails to see that we all should be treated like human beings, that we all are citizens of the United States of America. I’ve taken the position and I’ve long held this position that I fought too long and too hard against discrimination base on race and color not to stand up and speak out against discrimination based on sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter if someone is gay or straight or whether someone believes in a different philosophy or different religion. We’re one people, we’re one family, and we’re one house. There is not any room in American society for discrimination based on sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter whether someone is gay or happens to be lesbian or transsexual. We’re one people; we’re one family, the American family.

You call it what you want, discrimination is discrimination and we have to speak up and speak out against discrimination. You have too many people in this society saying they’re against same-sex marriage. If people fall in love and want to get married, it is their business. Martin Luther King Jr. used to say races don’t fall in love in love and get married; individuals fall in love and get married. So if two men or two women want to fall in love and get married it’s their business. Some people say it is a threat to the institution of marriage, and some of these people who go around saying that same sex marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage, which marriage or what marriage are they talking about? Some of these same individuals have had several marriages and I don’t think individuals that happen to be gay are a threat to anybody’s marriage. Love is love. It is better to love than to hate, it is better to be together than to be divided.”

It makes me mist up just thinking of the power and simplicity of these words. The message is so clear — this isn’t a zero sum game; we do not accrue civil rights at the expense of anyone else. Why are so many people, in the religious black community for example, so filled with religion-based fear and ignorance that they refuse to even try to work their way past it? John Lewis has never wavered in his commitment, or feels threatened by this new round in the battle for civil equality.

You can read more of Congressman Lewis’s comments and hear the entire interview at GayAgenda.com.


* LGBT issues MIA at Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding