“As Americans, it is up to each and every one of us to fight injustice and inequality when we are faced with it,” Sharpton said during an interview with TheGrio.com in March of this year.
“Today, we are faced with such injustices 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.”
Interesting, on the same day that Abrams granted an exclusive interview to the Michigan Chronicle (Oct. 16), the Michigan Marriage Act was being debated before U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman. The judge ultimately set a trial date of Feb. 25, 2014, which shocked many who thought he would dismiss the case to uphold the Michigan amendment which bans same-sex marriage in the state.
Beyond Michigan, same-gender marriage has been a hot-button issue. Even President Obama and the NAACP have voiced strong support for same-gender marriage which has angered a significant segment of the African-American population. Many national polls now show that a great number of Americans support gay marriage, inclusive of great levels of support among various racial and ethnic groups: however, support among African-Americans remains under 50 percent.
Abrams hopes that the attitudes of African-Americans, especially those in the Black Church, will become more tolerant and acceptance of people regardless of sexual orientation. Yet, she knows that acceptance is a steep mountain to climb.
“Some from the pulpit are making these people (gay) feel very small, making them feel that they have no love from God; that God is not going to use them or bless them,” explained Abrams. “Some ministers are being hypocrites because behind the scenes they are right there doing stuff with them. I believe that there needs to be open and guided discussion. I believe that the African-American church needs to become open, welcoming and affirming to everybody.”