Pastor Joseph Tolton Weighs in On Marriage Equality Success in Maryland

Pastor Joseph Tolton, one of the founders of NoWedge 2012 ‘explains why marriage equality is a victory for same-sex couples and our community’ in a post-election article for EBONY. GLAAD has worked with various faith leaders of this campaign, watching the birth of new conversations. Pastor Tolton expands marriage equality from a black perspective, which hinges on building community, staying in dialogue, and offering a significant point: Black voters are right there with the LGBT community, especially the black LGBT community, in the fight against discrimination.

The 2012 election brought huge successes, setting new precedents for marriage equality. It seems evermore hopeful that affirmation for marriage equality will prevail in all 50 sates. On the ballot this year were Maryland, Maine, Washington and Minnesota. Supporters and national campaigns fought hard and made their voices heard. Victories have been achieved at the ballot box in Maryland, Maine and Minnesota thus far this year, sending an amplified message; marriage equality is everyone’s fight.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland has a 30% black population, which made it a likely target for criticisms after Governor Martin O’Malley signed marriage equaity into law. Back in 2008, the Proposition 8 vote exacerbated claims that blacks held uniform beliefs against marriage equality, which at the same time denied that other opponents existed in other faith-based communities and districts without dense, black populations.

Pastor Tolton remarks,

“The LGBT community is loudly rejoicing from the passing of marriage equality in Maryland. In the process, there has been redemption in that Blacks who were blamed for Proposition 8 passing in California 2008, are now seemingly aligned with the LGBT community. The truth of the matter is that Blacks in Maryland spoke loudly, and they spoke clearly.”

Though opponents lie on all sides, Maryland’s Question 6 victory provides a truer narrative that Black communities can vehemently stand up and support marriage equality. We’ve seen the NAACP create a unified effort with black civil rights leaders and stand on the frontlines of marriage equality. The National Black Justice Coalition, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, Equality Maryland, Rev. Delman Coates and a list of others have stood proud, fighting for fairness.

The hard work put forth by so many will continue as we stand up for humanity and challenge opponents who distract the movement with race “wedge tactics” and prejudices.

Read more in Pastor Tolton’s piece, here.