Yesterday, Memorial Day, America remembered and honored the many brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifices fighting for our freedoms and liberties. Laura Washington, columnist for The Chicago Sun Times, wrote an article highlighting one Illinois Marines’ continued battle for his own freedom, the freedom to marry. Marquell Smith called on leaders in the African American religious community to support the Marriage Fairness Act, which will be called to a vote in the Illinois General Assembly in the next few days. Smith is quoted as saying, “Equality begins when people in positions of power enable everyone to live lives of decency and dignity, free from any prejudice in the law. Black folks did not want anyone’s permission to live freely.” Yet, “despite our legacy we are now the very people denying others their equal rights.”
Veterans like Smith who identify as LGBT have sacrificed much for our country and for every American to enjoy equal rights and liberties. But they themselves are not free to marry the ones the love. Though Memorial Day has passed, it is never too late to honor our men and women in uniform by granting them the same rights they fight for every day. The ACLU of Illinois urges you to show your support for marriage equality and to spread the word to your friends and legislators.