new jersey

Julian Bond: ‘Civil Unions Are Separate But Equal’

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Julian Bond, the NAACP chairman and Queerty hero, was on hand yesterday at New Jersey’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gay marriage. And because this is a man of eloquence, he delivered on all the right notes — without sounding preachy, or wiser-than-thou. He also addressed a glaring error in his organization’s history: a refusal to publicly support same-sex marriage.

But testifying in Trenton, Bond encountered “ambivalence” from lawmakers.

The great organizer of the student non-violent protests and chairman of the NAACP eloquently argued that extending marriage rights to gay couples was a natural extension of the Civil Rights movement. He said gays were active supporters of those struggles 50 years ago, and it would be nothing short of betrayal not to back gays in their bid for the “right of universal citizenship.”

“How can I turn my back on them and deny the rights they helped me win?” he told the panel.

But that argument did little to persuade one African-American legislator, whom Bond wouldn’t identify, in a private meeting earlier in the day.

“You know this legislator said, ‘Five years from now, this will happen, and we will be asking ourselves what this was all about,’Ÿ” said Bond, who refused to attend Coretta Scott King’s funeral because the minister presiding over the service was an adamant foe of gay marriage.

Bond’s testimony begins at 1:10:

(Video via Rob 2.0; Audio via TNCRM)