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Linda Johnson Rice, Ebony And Jet Magazine Publisher, Backs Gay Marriage

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LINDA JOHNSON RICE
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The publisher of Ebony and Jet Magazines expressed her support of marriage equality in a poignant Chicago Tribune op-ed on Valentine’s Day.

In the very personal piece, Johnson Publishing Company Chairman Linda Johnson Rice described her support of equality as having been inspired by her late mother.

“I have always drawn strength from my late mother’s life," she wrote. "When Eunice Johnson set up the first major fashion show for African-American audiences more than 50 years ago, she did so at a time when black Americans, especially black women, were still fighting for a seat at the table, any table."

The divorcee said that her mother’s words on equality were with her when Jet Magazine featured its first same-sex couple in August 2011 and then again in March and December of 2012.

“When the December magazine hit newsstands, I received dozens of calls wondering whether our readers or advertisers protested. You know what? Not one did. They celebrated right along with us because they were celebrating fairness and equality,” Rice wrote.

She added:

“Yet if the couples we featured walked into an Illinois courthouse and tried to get a marriage license, they’d be turned away. The same goes for couples in dozens of states. For millions of committed and loving same-sex couples, including African American couples, fair and equal access to marriage is still a dream. For these couples, they can’t show their true colors in the way my mother believed was absolutely essential.”

In a previous Chicago Magazine profile, Rice was described as “politically savvy, tough-as-nails with significant influence and clout in Chicago’s civic and cultural life." So her support of marriage equality definitely has the potential to carry a lot of clout.

In the midst of Rice’s op-ed being published, the Illinois State Senate approved same-sex marriage legislation by a vote of 34-21 and now awaits a House of Representatives vote.

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