Black Leaders Not New to Marriage-Equality 'Bandwagon'

These high-profile African Americans were doing the right thing before it was the thing to do.

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John Lewis (AFP/Getty Images)

There been a lot of talk this week about the "bandwagon effect" kicking in when it comes to support for marriage equality. As MSNBC's the Maddow Blog put it, politicians "see their colleagues do the right thing, and they hurry to join the club before it's too late."

Consider the last week in Democratic politics. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed marriage equality last Monday, and by the weekend, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri was on board, too. Yesterday afternoon, Sen. Mark Warner (D) of Virginia announced on Facebook that he supports marriage equality "because it is the fair and right thing to do." And by the end of the day, the bandwagon had a new member.

We couldn't help noticing that the bandwagon's welcome committee included plenty of African-American elected officials (John Lewis, Cory Booker, Deval Patrick and Marcia Fudge, just to name a few), as well as nonelected leaders like Coretta Scott King, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who have been in support of marriage equality for some time.  

Many even beat President Obama to the punch. Here's what Lewis had to say back in May 2012, when the president made his support official: 

"In President Obama's interview with Robin Roberts, he described the kind of steps many Americans have taken on the issue of same sex marriage. Once people begin to see the similarities between themselves and others, instead of focusing on differences, they come to recognize that equality is essentially a matter of human rights and human dignity. The President's growth reflects the growth of many Americans on this issue. I am glad to see more Americans, including President Obama, empathize with the struggles of same sex couples and express willingness in state after state to give their unions the same legal rights as other married couples."

Are there any other issues on which these leaders' arguably unique perspective on equal rights has meant that they do the right thing before it's the thing to do? 

Read more at the Maddow Blog. 

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