Is Marriage Equality for White People?

One writer says it's time to wake up and strengthen the alliance between communities of color and the LGBT community.

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The conventional wisdom is that black people just aren't that invested in marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans. Maya Rupert, the federal-policy director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (and a The Root 100 honoree), argues in a piece for the Huffington Post that that's dead wrong. She says it's time we stopped acting as if marriage equality were only for white people and realized that it's very much tied to a fight for racial justice. 

Read an excerpt:

Thus, instead of focusing on how the black and LGBT community must work together to defeat this measure [a proposed North Carolina state constitutional amendment that, if passed in 2012, would bar any legal recognition or protection for same-sex couples but is written in broad terms that would impact all of North Carolina's unmarried couples] the focus has been on whether a comparison between the struggle for marriage quality and the Civil Rights Movement is ever appropriate.

That debate is a distraction. Of course these two movements are not the same, but the impulse to discriminate -- the one that convinces some people that equality is a scarce commodity that can only be provided to some -- is the same impulse at the root of racial discrimination, LGBT discrimination, and discrimination against every minority community. And we must combat that impulse in all forms.

For its part, the LGBT community must do a better job of talking about marriage equality in communities of color. Too often there is an implication that the denial of marriage equality is the only or the worst way that families are denied equal protection and recognition by law and public policy. This rings false -- and, often, insulting -- to many communities of color that have dealt for generations with legislative, policy, and legal efforts to undermine the legitimacy and dignity of families of color. When the LGBT community is perceived as placing the issue of marriage equality in a privileged position in public policy debate as a unique harm suffered only by LGBT families, communities of color are sent the message that the ways their families are denied legitimacy are being discounted or ignored ...

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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The Root 100 People's Choice Awards  
Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM