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Thursday, Jul 04 2013 11:00 PM

DANNY MORRISON: Can an African-American speak out about equal rights for gays?

Inequality. America's been there, done that. I'm not old enough to have experienced the civil rights movement personally, but I've read, watched film and heard first-hand accounts of how venomous the conversations were at the height of my fellow African-Americans' groundswell chants for equality. Seemingly, history is repeating itself.

I have been listening to a lot of emotional dialogue from people regarding sane-sex marriage. The advocates claim that legalization will add revenue to a stagnant economy, solidify patient rights universally (i.e. hospital visits and posthumous asset distribution), and positively reinforce the true meaning of marriage as it applies to the 14th Amendment when it states:

"No State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The opponents claim that the Bible clearly speaks out against homosexuality in First Corinthians 6. Opponents say that making gays appear normal will force all children into sexually immoral behavior. And this: "God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve." Square peg. Round hole. But I digress.

Like many, I spoke out openly against homosexuality as recently as 10 years ago. "It's just not the way God intended," I would say. "It's just not natural." Full disclosure: Growing up in the church gave me all the ammunition I needed to push my Biblically laced belief system on any unsuspecting party during a "gay debate." I had legalities on my side, too. That was always the sharpest blade in my sheath.

However, there's been a shift of seismic proportions in societal opinions on homosexuality. Myself included. I attribute my own personal change in opinion to multiple things: watching Barack Obama's evolution and progression on the subject, my personal (and more inclusive) spiritual growth, and lastly, this: I just don't feel that I, as a black person, can decide that another human being shouldn't receive equal rights. We African-Americans have had to clutch and claw our way to equality since the first slave ship hit the shores. And we are still fighting for equal protection under the law in certain situations. So now that we have stuck our equality flags into the top of liberty mountain, we're speaking out against homosexuals who are trying to achieve equality themselves? Hypocrisy. That's what that is. I don't have the right.

And actually, neither do you. Especially now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. There goes the legal argument. Without counting California's Proposition 8 stipulation, 12 states plus the District of Columbia have given gays the right to marry. And that number is bound to escalate. The law is now the law. And not even Holy Bibles can be used as ammunition in the war against gay equality. Why not? That's because of a little something called Separation of Church and State. Thomas Jefferson said it best: "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion ... thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."

There goes the religious argument. I believe in the God as much as you do, but the last time I checked, my Holy Bible states in Romans 13:2: "Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

Have I not mentioned that the law was the law? And let's not forget that so-called religious people were using Biblical passages to fight against integration, inclusion and interracial marriages a mere 50 years ago. Do you remember how we all wanted the government to stay out of our gun closets in the bedroom? You should also want the government to keep from getting between the sheets of our bedrooms.

No matter the sexual preference, freedom is freedom. You can't have it both ways. It's time that we as a nation prove that indeed "all men are created equal."

Danny Morrison of Bakersfield is a local radio personality and a sales representative in the building industry. Community Voices is an expanded commentary of 650 to 700 words.

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