Jesse Jackson told a conservative that he would perform a same-sex marriage ceremony if someone asked him.
“Beginning with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to the inclusion of blacks, Hispanics, 18-year-olds, and women, opportunities are now unlimited,” Jackson said to Human Events during last week's Democratic National Convention. Jackson added that he had “no problem with that relationship — (couples of the same gender marrying).”
Jackson has been outspoken in his support of gay rights in recent months. Earlier this year he called for federal protections for gay marriage, likening it to the federal government's protection of civil rights. "If the states had to vote on slavery, we would have lost the vote," he said. "If we had to vote on the right [for blacks] to vote, we would have lost that vote."
Other civil rights leaders have been vocal in their support for gay marriage. The NAACP endorsed same-sex marriage following President Obama's personal endorsement of it in May. Polls of African Americans has also found that support had dramatically jumped — a swing of 18 points in just two weeks — following Obama's statement of support.
Some church leaders have been outspoken in their opposition. Bill Owens, who heads the Coalition of African-American Pastors, and a liason with the conservative National Organization for Marriage, called Obama a "Judas" for his stance. "I didn’t march one inch, one foot, one yard, for a man to marry a man, and a woman to marry a woman,” said Owens, who claimed to be active in the civil rights movement, at a press conference in August.
(But it doesn't appear that he marched an inch or a foot or a yard for much of anything: other civil rights leaders said they had little knowledge of Owens involvement in the movement or his supposed activism.)