John Lewis on Marriage

In 1996, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) argued passionately against the Defense of Marriage Act. This is what it sounded like.

When I was growing up in the South during the 40’s and the 50’s, the great majority of the people in that region believed that black people shouldn’t be able to enter places of public accommodation. And they felt that black people shouldn’t be able to register to vote. And many people felt that that was right, but that was wrong. I think as politicians, as elected officials, we should not only follow, but we must lead — lead our districts.

You cannot tell people they cannot fall in love. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., used to say, when people talked about interracial marriages, and I quote, “Races do not fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married. Why do you not want your fellow men and women, your fellow Americans, to be happy? Why do you attack them? Why do you want to destroy the love they hold in their hearts? Why do you want to crush their hopes, their dreams, their longings, their aspirations? We are talking about human beings! People like you! People who want to get married, buy a house, and spend their lives with the one they love. They have done no wrong.”

(h/t the Huffington Post)

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10 comments for “John Lewis on Marriage

  1. moviemaedchen
    March 29, 2013 at 1:05 pm


  2. March 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Tears. Thank you.

  3. MH
    March 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Amen and amen.

  4. whistlewren
    March 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Lovely. And also so frustrating that, despite the many eloquent and reasoned arguments for marriage equality, the first and foremost reason is this. And this is enough. There doesn’t need to be another reason. But opponents of equality can so easily steamroll past the basic logic of compassion.

  5. z
    March 30, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Because this is what has been permitted to exist by democracy. Polticians assault people because they _can_; they are attacked because they are permitted to attack.

    Congratulations., America.

    • EG
      March 30, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Goodness knows that prior to democracy, there was no such thing as a subjugated group subject to unjust persecution. Just ask the Jews.

    • amblingalong
      March 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Obvious troll is obvious.

  6. Angie unduplicated
    March 30, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Lewis should be declared a national treasure.

  7. aveskde
    March 31, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Wow, it’s amazing he had the courage as far back as 1996 to say that. I wish it didn’t take so long in this country to come around on these issues.

    The good news is that the far right is collapsing on this issue. They used to be able to appeal to the broadest, base prejudices of homosexuals being “other” and now the best they can muster is to insist upon homosexuals being part of elaborate conspiracies. People in their right mind can’t accept that.

  8. April 2, 2013 at 12:18 am

    I had no idea he’d said this back in 1996, but he gave a fantastic speech at my graduation (despite having absolutely no connection to the school or the area as far as I can tell).

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