Don Lemon: Gay rights same as civil rights

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CNN’s never shy Atlanta gay Don Lemon, fresh from covering President Obama’s inauguration on Monday, offers up this controversial take on comparing gay rights to civil rights: Same issue, same struggle.

Lemon’s got the life experiences to make that comparison, even if some African-American civil rights activists still bristle at the notion. Then again, the gun control ranting, racist to some, gladiator-loving and definitely non-chub chasing Lemon doesn’t hold back. On Twitter or anywhere else.

He offered this in an interview with the Dallas Voice, who quizzed him ahead of a Feb. 1 appearance in Texas:

DV: As a black, gay man from the South, how did you feel about Obama equating Selma to Stonewall?

D.L.: The two movements are different, but the same. One is for people of color and one is for people of the same sex who want their love to be seen as legitimate and the same as everyone else. We know they’re not exactly the same. But the fight and crusade for equal rights and civil rights are exactly the same.

John Lewis, the civil rights leader, has said to me, and leaders up on stage during the inaugural address said — that issue as far as this president and John Lewis are concerned — that’s settled. Gay rights are the same as civil rights. It is the same struggle. For me, it’s a settled issue.

People see that I’m black before they know I’m gay. Sometimes they don’t know that I’m gay. But it’s the same issue and the same struggle.

Of course, Obama’s forceful call for LGBT equality during his inaugural speech made Lemon, and the gays he found in the crowd, a little giddy.

DV: Tell me about the response to Obama’s speech you got from those two gay guys.

D.L.: It wasn’t just those guys, it was everyone standing around us. They went “Whoa! Did you hear that? He mentioned Stonewall, he mentioned love between people of the same sex. He mentioned gay people.” We were all “Wow! That’s huge.”

We were all pretty stunned, even though we knew he’s a supporter of same-sex marriage, but no president has ever mentioned that in an inaugural address. So to have that mentioned was pretty historic.

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