NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond records radio ad for marriage in Maryland

This week, a new radio advertisement supporting the freedom to marry in Maryland begain airing in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore markets. In the ad, Dr. Julian Bond, who served for 11 years as Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and now serves as the organization's Chairman Emeritus, asks Maryland voters to vote FOR Question 6. Question 6 is the ballot measure in Maryland that would uphold the freedom to marry, which was passed legislatively in the March and signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley. 

In the ad, which you can listen to below, Dr. Bond says: 

I know a little something about fighting for what's right and just. Maryland's gay and lesbian families share the same values. And they should share in the right to marry. I believe people of faith understand this isn't about any one religious belief - it's about protecting the civil right to make a lifelong commitment to the person you love. Join me in supporting Question 6. It's the right thing to do.

Dr. Bond has been a steadfast advocate for Question 6 throughout the year. In September, he penned an editorial about why the marriage campaign in Maryland matters and why it's so important for leaders in the African-American community to speak out in favor of ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. His editorial attacked the so-called National Organization for Marriage, the anti-gay group that admitted that it has worked for years to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks."

The new advertisement and Julian Bond's continued advocacy for the freedom to marry is reinforced by perpetual support from the NAACP, both nationally and in Maryland. In May, the NAACP approved a resolution supporting marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. Now they're focusing specifically on the Maryland ballot campaign. Current NAACP President Benjamin Jealous has voiced his support, saying, "We at the NAACP understand that we are here ultimately to ensure that there is equality beneath the law for every human being in this country." And last month, Prince George's County's NAACP head Ben Ross recorded a videourging people to vote FOR Question 6.

The radio ad reflects the burgeoning support for the freedom to marry in the black community in Maryland and beyond.

In August, a poll demonstrated significant growth over the past few months in black Marylanders' support for marriage for same-sex couples. Forty-four percent of African-Americans surveyed said they would vote in favor of marriage at the ballot, with 45 percent saying they'd vote against it. That's a huge improvement from March, when 40 percent of African-Americans surveyed said they would approve the law and 49 percent said they would reject it.

This growth among black voters in Maryland is reflective of growing support for marriage in the African-American community nationwide. We've seen in national polls that respondents who identify as "non-white" support the freedom to marry by a very strong margin; one June 2012 poll tracked 59% support and 39% opposition. We've also heard many prominent voices from the African-American community speak out in support of all families, including Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, Rev. Al Sharpton, Colin Powell, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Tony winner Audra McDonald.

 Freedom to Marry applauds Dr. Bond and other Marylanders who are supporting Question 6. We know that a wide range of diverse communities overwhelmingly support marriage for all loving and committed couples. Amplifying these communities and highlighting their support is essential to winning the freedom to marry in November.

Read more about why marriage matters to African-Americans, Question 6 and marriage in Maryland, the four states where marriage will be on the ballot in November.