Marriage Equality Film Project – David Wilson Interview Excerpt
In what is probably the most eloquent case made for marriage equality I’ve come across, Jonathan Capehart at the Washington Post introduces us to a black man named David Wilson. Wilson’s first partner died in their driveway, and Wilson was arrested, considered a stranger and assumed to have committed a crime. He includes a lengthy quote from Wilson that is must-reading, in which Wilson discusses his parents and how his mother was treated by the black church she cherished.
It’s convinced me more than anything else I’ve seen that there is a connection, and a justified one, between the civil rights movement of African-Americans, and our struggle for marriage equality. This is heartbreaking stuff but absolutely essential to understanding why we need not shy away from claiming this as a mutual struggle, a cry for human rights and dignity that transcends racial division.
From the Washington Post/Jonathan Capehart:
There is no question in my mind that there is a seamless arc connecting the civil rights fight waged by African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s and the one underway by gay men and lesbians. But not everyone agrees. Least of all other blacks and the black church in particular. We saw this conflict play out in Maryland, where a bill to legalize same-sex marriage went down in defeat in March in part due to pressure from the black church.
A new documentary looks at the black-gay civil rights divide by centering on Massachusetts Rep. Byron Rushing (D) during the commonwealth’s push to legalize same-sex marriage. The African American legislator eloquently weaves the two movements together in the 15-minute film. Following a screening of the movie last month, I moderated a panel discussion at Aaron Davis Hall in New York City that looked at the marriage equality push in New York state from a black perspective. The panel was filled with luminaries, including media and fashion mogul Russell Simmons. But the star of the event was a soft-spoken man named David Wilson.
In the film, Wilson tells the heartbreaking story about the death of his then-partner. The trauma of finding him lying in the driveway. The terror of being arrested by the police on suspicion of breaking and entering or assault and battery before neighbors convinced police otherwise. The indignity of being denied information by the hospital because he was a legal stranger to his partner. Only after his partner’s 75-year-old mother told the hospital who Wilson was did they inform him that his partner of 13 years was dead on arrival.
Cross-posted from MadeMark.net