TALKING TO FAMILY: Maryland Black Family Alliance Supports Equality

Guest Blogger: Lea Gilmore

Marriage is a fundamental right. Marriage is love. Love is universal.

The Maryland Black Family Alliance (MBFA) is an alliance African American straight-allies who are professors, elected officials, pastors, medical professionals, social workers, artists, college students, engineers, wives, mothers, sisters, brothers and more who dementedly believe in fairness, justice and equality for all families. Further, we adamantly believe that love and commitment are the essence of family and that family is the foundation of strong Black communities. Therefore, we seek to ensure that all Black families -- including those headed by lesbians and gay men -- have the full protection of the law.

MBFA recognizes that one cannot discuss fairness and equality without acknowledging the deep history of oppressions, MBFA recognizes itself as a holistic organization that understands the intersection of racial justice and marriage equality. We understand and never diminish the significance of race and its meanings in our society. In our outreach and advocacy, we collaborate with and seek to educate those who need a greater understanding of civil marriage and marriage equality, but also work within the greater LGBT community to facilitate a deeper understanding of the many dynamics that inform the opinions and social mores of communities of color, in particular Maryland's Black community.

As we continue to acknowledge and celebrate the 8oth birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we embrace his words – injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
As African Americans, we know that discrimination is wrong and that it damages us all when we exclude any group of Americans from the protections that other Americans enjoy. Therefore, with an integrity inspired by our past, and as we commemorate this Freedom to Marry Week, we seek fairness, justice and equality for all families.

Lea Gilmore is program director of the Maryland Black Family Association. She and her husband have long been allies for LGBT rights.