16 Jan 06 12:00 AM EST
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ray Daniels 202-349-3739 (o) 202-669-3039 (c)
NATIONAL BLACK JUSTICE COALITION RELEASES AD
FEATURING JUSTICE THOMAS AND JUDGE ALITO
Washington -- A leading black civil rights group is releasing a new advertisement that takes on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on a sensitive gay rights issue. The National Black Justice Coalition announced today that the group is publishing an ad that challenges the influence of religious intolerance on the US Supreme Court.
The ad -- which will be published in the Afro-American Newspapers in Baltimore and Washington, and in Roll Call, the Congressional newspaper -- features a photograph of Justice Thomas, who is black, and his wife Virginia, who is white. Noting their interracial relationship, the ad asks, "Offense Before God?"
Until 1967, Thomas's marriage would have been illegal in 36 states, said NBJC Director of Religious Affairs Dr. Sylvia Rhue. "Forty years ago, opponents of interracial marriage cited the Bible to justify their discrimination. Today, opponents of same-gender marriage cite the Bible to justify their discrimination," Rhue added.
"If Clarence Thomas had been on the Court in 1967, how would he have voted?," the ad asks, referring to the Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage. "If Samuel Alito had been on the court in 1967, how would he have voted?," it continues. The tagline of the ad argues that "using religion to justify discrimination is the real offense before God.
"We see this as a teachable moment when we can draw on the lessons of history to help us avoid some of the pitfalls of the past," said NBJC Executive Director H. Alexander Robinson. The ad is a part of the NBJC's ongoing public education campaign in support of marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples. "We want to remind those who benefited from our nation's commitment to equality not to deny that right to others." Robinson said his organization has serious concerns about Justice Thomas and Judge Alito and their ability to see the similarities between interracial marriage and same-gender marriage. To see the actual ad, click here.