In 2006 Marquell Smith was discharged from the military due to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), and his experiences inspired him to work toward repealing the policy that prevented LGBTQ people in the military to serve openly. DADT was repealed in 2010, and since then Smith has turned his attention to getting people of color to back same-sex marriage.
This week, Smith launched the Inclusive Community Project, a political action comittee that aims to get people of color to support LGBT causes. He’s beginning his nationwide campaign in his home state of Illinois, where a judge recently ruled to allow two lawsuits challenging the state’s ban on gay marriage to move forward.
At a fundraiser on Thursday, he said that he was struck by the lack of diversity among people advocating for same-sex marriage in Illinois, and decided to do something about it.
“I was getting a feeling that there weren’t a lot of people standing up who looked like me. The whole idea behind this is to get citizens to really stand up and get people of color to get behind [same-sex] marriage.”
Smith also said he believes there’s broad support in the black community for same-sex marriage, and he’s making it his mission to mobilize them behind this and other causes that affect LGBTQ people.
Watch Smith share his story for the It Gets Better Project.
(h/t Chicago Sun-Times)