Gay Marriage Statement

The Black AIDS Institute Salutes the U.S. Supreme Court for Affirming the Right to Marriage Equality for Gay and Lesbian People

Today, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 margin on one of the greatest civil rights issues of our time: the right for same sex couples to marry.

With Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority, the Court affirmed that the right to marriage is a fundamental right and that gay and lesbian people cannot be deprived of it.

The Black AIDS Institute salutes the Court for pronouncing that there is one class of citizenship in the United States; that all men and women are created equal, no matter their sexual orientation.

It is not lost on us that this decision has come down on the same date and at almost this very hour as the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the slain pastor of Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston.

Importantly, while we applaud this decision and look forward to LGBT people regardless of race and ethnicity enjoying the right to form families and marry as they see fit, we cannot forget that while our nation has made breathtaking progress on gay rights over the past decade, 50 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, America continues to be challenged by the fundamental notion of equality based on race.

Black and other LGBT people of color live at the intersection of sexual orientation and race. We don’t get to be gay and lesbian on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Black on Tuesday and Thursday-we take all of ourselves with us everywhere we go. The time has come to extend the conversation about equal protections so that it’s not just for more of us. It is for all of us and for all of our selves.

“This is an amazing leap forward toward the promise of liberty and justice for all.” said Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “But in all the celebration, it is important to note we are not there yet. This Supreme Court decision, reminds us that change can happen, and we the people of the United States must continue our struggle so that Americans of all backgrounds can participate fully in our society. Human beings do not live in compartments-either we are free, whole and fully American or we’re not.”