Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Young Democrats are Changing the Conversation on Marriage Equality // OLD SCHOOL DEMS: Step Aside, Time's Up

Something's in the water. Maryland Juice has been predicting that the churning of the demography in the Free State would start to crescendo. I think my generation is beginning to rise to the challenge of better governance than what the generation before us has been able to deliver (no offense, but we're still allowed to be idealistic):

Rev. Joseph Lynn Kitchen
Here in Maryland, a young baptist minister from Prince George's County -- who happens to be the Maryland Young Dems Vice President -- tells the story of his personal transformation on the issue of marriage equality. Maryland Juice had the privilege of ranting about Sam Arora on WBAL this week, and Rev. Kitchen was a guest on the show. Check out his brave testimony (excerpt below):
REV. JOSEPH LYNN KITCHEN: In 2008 I voted for Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in my native state of California. In 2012, should it come before voters, I will vote against repealing the marriage equality legislation that just passed the House of Delegates. What led to my evolution on this issue? My own personal experience with my family.

As a kid my brother who is just eleven months younger than I am became suicidal. For months he would go through long bouts of depression that resulted in attempts on his life with cutting and one night trying to hang himself in a closet. My family believed it was a phase he was going through and something to be kept internal, on the inside…family business. We were wrong. He was gay and the traditions of shame and dishonor had taken their toll on him. It wasn’t until we realized that he was a member of our family and we loved him unconditionally that he got better and the strength of our family improved.

In 2008 I forgot that experience. I became distracted by the disagreements I had with the marriage equality advocates to overshadow my better judgment. As a voter I resented their failure to engage me on the issue. As an African-American I rejected their charges of bigotry. As a Christian I refused to accept their characterizing of my faith as hate. Once we get beyond all those names and look at this issue for what it is, love and strong relationships, everything else just seems so small.

Meanwhile, the President of the National Young Democrats is calling on the Democratic Party to make marriage equality a part of the national platform. BOLD ACTION FROM YOUNG DEMOCRATS:
Today, Young Democrats of America’s Executive Director Emily Tisch Sussman joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and more than 13,000 voters around the nation in endorsing language proposed by Freedom to Marry as part of its Democrats: Say I Do campaign calling on the national party to include a freedom to marry plank in the national Democratic party’s 2012 platform.

“As the Executive Director of Young Democrats of America, I represent young people, and the way we connect young people back to Democratic politics is by speaking out for what is right and taking action,” Sussman said. “Polling shows that 70 percent of voters 18-34 support the freedom to marry, and for many of our members, it’s a cause that goes to the core of why they consider themselves Democrats. It is time to realize that marriage is no longer an effective wedge issue; it is a cause that we as Democrats should be leading on.”


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