Rev. Jesse Jackson to Voters: Support Gay Marriage

The civil rights leader says that the culture has to expand.

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The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said in a recent interview that he would perform a same-sex wedding ceremony if a gay or lesbian couple asked him to do so, is urging Maryland voters to adopt his view of gay rights as civil rights by voting in favor of a ballot measure that would provide for marriage equality in the state. Although the legislature passed a bill that Gov. Martin O'Malley signed, voters will decide the issue in November. Jackson seems to be targeting the state's large African-American community with his remarks.

"The culture has had to expand," he told the Huffington Post's Michelangelo Signorile at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., last week, adding, "For so long we thought it was a sin for blacks to have freedom. We thought it was a sin for black and white men and women to interrelate. We've grown in our appreciation of the fact that we live in our faith, and our faith may live under the law. All citizens deserve constitutional protections. You know, you have a right not to agree with interracial marriage, but no one should be denied rights under the law.

"They should not vote [against people's civil rights]," he said. "I remember in 1964, the dealbreaker then was, 'Should we have the right of public accommodation [for blacks]?' They tried to make blacks having public accommodations a single issue. At that time, race was the dealbreaker. But we've overcome that. I would hope that people would respect people's basic fundamental rights. If you don't believe in it, don't engage in it. But don't deny other people their basic civil rights."

Read more and listen to the full interview at the Huffington Post.

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