Memphis Downtown 300x220 The Advocate Op Ed: Why It Matters What One Tennessee Party DoesI have an op-ed up in The Advocate today. Shelby County, Tennessee, which includes Memphis and some of its suburbs, has become, to our knowledge, the first county party in the South to come out in full support of marriage equality. I write about why that’s important on a national scale and encourage other party chapters to follow their lead. Here’s the first bit, then click over for the rest:

Memphis is an odd, wonderful town. This city, which has been so integral to the narrative of the Civil Rights Movement, and in which I have made my home for years, still struggles in many ways to achieve the dreams of justice for all advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated here in 1968. On April 4, the 44th anniversary of that event, vigils and remembrances were held around the National Civil Rights Museum in Downtown Memphis, and there was a visible contingent from the LGBT community, joining the crowd in paying homage to Dr. King and keeping alive the spirit of his famous words, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

When President Obama announced last month that his position on marriage equality had “evolved,” it was a turning point here and nationwide on that arc. Though the Civil Rights movement and the movement for LGBT equality are not the same, they share common threads. There are those who scoff at the two being connected in any way, and there are surely gay rights supporters who perhaps inadvertently gloss over the sheer brutality of what happened in Memphis and around the country during the Civil Rights Movement, but as Dr. King’s late wife Coretta Scott King said in 2003, “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people… but I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

Go on now. Read the rest of it. But come back quick!