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Today’s letter

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Marquell Smith, a Marine Sergeant discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” has written a letter to several African-American state Representative’s who’ve said they oppose or are leaning against voting for the gay marriage bill. Here’s an excerpt, but you should really click here to read the whole thing

Like you I’m African-American. I learned that the struggles of our people are a symbol of hope for those being discriminated against. We cannot let an important vehicle of past struggles —African-American churches— become the gatekeepers of the rights to dignity of others. Who are we to deny someone else the right to marry because we don’t agree with who they love?

Equality begins when people in positions of power enable everyone to live lives of decency and dignity, free from any prejudice in the law. Black folks did not want anyone’s permission to live freely; we can not rest until this dream is realized for everyone.

Despite our legacy we are now the very people denying others their equal rights. I’m inclined to believe that we can do better but we can’t do it without your support.

When I was discharged from the Marine Corps in 2006 under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, I learned firsthand what separate but equal feels like—and let me tell you it felt awful.

Discuss.

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20 Comments
  1. - reformer - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 11:36 am:

    It’s an eloquent, heartfelt appeal that might influence anyone with an open mind.


  2. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    ==We cannot be silent when the youth from our community have to leave their home either voluntarily or involuntarily because someone around them doesn’t agree with who they love.==

    I have friends that this has happened to. It blows my mind that parents and family members would shun somebody simply because they are gay. I don’t like to use this term lightly but that behavior is the epitomy of hate. People have a right to be respected and treated with dignity. By continuing to deny SSM people are denying that dignity and respect to gay people.


  3. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    Great letter. I hope Rep. Monique Davis and the other “no” votes read it.


  4. - Wensicia - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 12:07 pm:

    It’s not just the separate but equal status, it’s how your made to feel somewhat less than human.

    Anyone from the African American community should recognize this description. It is the same violation of self they felt before civil rights.


  5. - MrJM - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    A gay Marine wants the government to recognize same-sex commitments?

    Semper Fidelis, indeed.

    – MrJM


  6. - Cook County Commoner - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    Logic is a poor tool against prejudice and relgious beliefs.


  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 12:16 pm:

    Geez, what a crying shame.

    You’re patriotic enough, committed enough, talented enough, tough enough, and respected enough on your accomplishments to become a Marine sergeant and you get bounced because of some silly fools in Congress and a president who didn’t have the guts to stand up to them.

    As Barry Goldwater wrote in opposition to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: “You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight.”


  8. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 12:32 pm:

    A star is born in Marquell Smith.


  9. - wishbone - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    God bless the truth teller.


  10. - Sunshine - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    I too say Semper Fi!!

    In Nam I never saw anyone in the Corp ask for all gays….or for that mater black folks, to move back to safety. They fought right along with everyone, as they did in all our nation’s conflicts.

    To discriminate against gay men and women is absolutely bs. The man’s point to the black community regarding this discrimination, particularly, hits right at the heart of the issue. Don’t talk to me about discrimination against black folks, then demand discrimination against gays…., after all that blacks went through. Have we learned nothing?

    As far as I’m concerned, and my Marine family is concerned, Marquell Smith should be reinstated in the Corps!


  11. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    Well put!


  12. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    ==A star is born in Marquell Smith.==

    I know nothing about him, but it’d sure be fun to see him move if necessary to launch a primary challenge against a Dem who votes against gay marriage.


  13. - BentheDem - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    Marquell is pretty amazing. If you ever get the chance to hear his story in person, it’s all the more impressive. Great job buddy.


  14. - Langhorne - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 1:18 pm:

    Much Better than clintons letter


  15. - Sylvia - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    God bless you Mr. Smith for your heartfelt and very eloquent letter. Perhaps you should consider a run for office….I’d vote for you!


  16. - Lundstrom - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    I am happy to see a new face and hear from a new voice on the marriage equality issue for a change.

    That stated, I don’t believe that the Black Caucus or African-American church Leaders are holding up marriage equality in Illinois. Since when have either ever been powerful enough to do something like that? They can’t even stop violence in their communities, but they can stop marriage equality in the whole state? If Mike Madigan wants marriage equality or anything else, it happens. End of story. And it doesn’t matter what the Black IL House Caucus wants, says or does. It also doesn’t matter what African-American church leaders want, say or do. To help Lisa Madigan’s chances in a run for governor, the Black Caucus and African-American church leaders are willing to fall on the sword in publicly opposing a very powerful and vocal minority group.


  17. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 3:19 pm:

    ===They can’t even stop violence in their communities, but they can stop marriage equality in the whole state? ===

    That’s a completely bogus argument. If stopping street violence was as easy as killing a bill in the General Assembly, there’d be no more street violence.


  18. - Lakefront Lib - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 3:35 pm:

    It’s a great, thoughtful, eloquent letter. Unfortunately, Davis, Flowers and the other Af-Am no votes are more concerned with keeping their permanent seats at the government trough in Springfield than doing the right thing. They long ago showed their true colors. Flowers and Davis in particular are shameless hacks who feast at the taxpayer’s treasury.


  19. - Lakefront Lib - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 3:37 pm:

    I also defy anyone to name one significant piece of legislation that Reps. Flowers or Davis have passed that helps everyday Illinoisans. They’re the ultimate Dem party cronies. And this coming from a Dem voter.


  20. - Marty - Thursday, May 23, 13 @ 4:53 pm:

    I’m proud to say Marquell is a friend of mine!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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