Equality includes everyone

Updated
Revelers celebrate during the Gay Pride parade on June 26, 2011 in New York City.
Revelers celebrate during the Gay Pride parade on June 26, 2011 in New York City.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Our founding fathers created a nation built on the power of its citizens and drafted the U.S. Constitution to guard against tyranny by any singular or majority power.

As Americans, it is up to each and every one of us to fight injustice and inequality when we are faced with it. Today, we are faced with such injustice in the form of discrimination against same-sex couples, who deserve the same freedom to marry as anyone else.

We cannot be part-time advocates for justice. When we fail to stand up to tyranny, we leave an opening for an attack on our own civil rights. The issue is not about being gay or straight but about the civil rights of Americans who are seeking to have the same rights and protections as their brothers and sisters across this great nation.

We can’t stand on the sidelines

Certainly, having the same rights and protections must apply to marriage: the cornerstone of our families, our neighborhoods, and society at large. We cannot stand on the sidelines as loving and committed gay and lesbians are denied the freedom to marry. Our fellow LGBT citizens are faced with discrimination in their jobs, their communities, and their everyday lives. Because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and state laws like California’s discriminatory Proposition 8 legislation banning same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian couples are treated as second-class citizens.

That’s why the American people are demanding change. According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, a bipartisan majority of Americans — 58 percent – already support the freedom to marry. That number leaps to 81 percent among voters under 30.

Read more of Rev. Sharpton’s op-ed on theGrio.com.

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Equality includes everyone

Updated