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Russell Simmons Shows Support for Marriage Equality

By GLAAD |
April 23, 2009

Hip-hop and fashion mogul Russell Simmons recently sent an open letter to New York Gov. David Paterson in support of marriage equality. Thanks to Diversity, Inc., we have the unedited text of the letter in its entirety.

Dear Governor Paterson,

I write this letter to you, my friend, to publicly announce my gratitude for your courage and leadership on issues that will ultimately make this state, nation and the world a better place. I have known you for a very long time and have always admired your passion for doing what is right, which is often times not the most popular. This is what makes you a great leader, especially for our underserved communities that you have advocated on behalf of for decades. We were all inspired by your dedication to reforming the drug laws of our state and recognize the accomplishment your administration achieved by ending the Rockefeller Drug Laws after 36 years. So, we know when you believe in something, what you can do.

However, as your friend and supporter, we know you can do much more, if you forget about what the poll numbers say and let your heart lead. You have recently done this in showing support for the legalization of gay marriage. History will show you are right and will we support you on this issue. Mr. Governor, we want to go to work for you and we will, but we will not be easy on you, because we know your potential. When you were unexpectedly put into the role of Chief Executive of New York State, you were handed a plate full of problems. Although your first year was a bumpy ride, we are beginning to see your great leadership and vision shine through and take over. I encourage you to keep leading with your heart, and address issues like the promotion of good diet, well-being and education for youth, as well creating new jobs (hopefully green jobs) for our workers and making sure that every person in our state can afford healthcare. As the first African-American Governor of New York, you have already made history. We now want to help you create a legacy.

Respectfully,
Russell Simmons

This is not the first time that Simmons has shown support of the LGBT community. In a 2006 interview for The Advocate Newsmagazine on Logo, he talked about why it's important to support all people, and addressed the possible discomfort within the hip-hop community to discuss homophobia.

His portion is in Part 2, 25 seconds in, but we've included both parts, of this special segment, because, yes, it's that good (and still relevant three years later).

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