LGBT Rights: A Matter of Fairness

From The Huffington Post:

Laura W. MurphyDirector, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Earlier this week, Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post wrote a column outlining why he thinks African Americans should embrace gay rights, specifically the freedom for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples to marry.

As an African-American woman who has been active in my support for the LGBT community for decades -- both with the ACLU and outside the organization -- it comes down to the very basic truth that for equality to have real meaning, fairness and equal treatment under the law must extend to everyone. This is what informed ACLU fights against discriminatory laws like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and DOMA that I helped to lead in the 1990s in the organization's Washington Legislative Office. Importantly, it is also what the struggle for the freedom to marry is rooted in.

Last month, I, along with my brother, testified before the Maryland Legislature in support of legislation to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. As someone who was born and raised in the Cherry Hill neighborhood of Baltimore City, it was a wonderful opportunity.

My brother, William "Billy" Murphy, and I spoke to the legislators as members of a proud family with a heritage of advancing equality for all people. We told the gathered legislators that the Murphy family has been standing for the principles of fairness and equality for many generations. For example, my ancestor, John Murphy Sr., a former slave, started the Afro-American newspaper, which played a vital role in the civil rights movement.

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