(Washington, D.C., April 29, 2015)—The following can be attributed to National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.

“I was in Washington D.C. this week attending oral argument in the marriage equality cases, but my heart was in Baltimore. The struggle for the right to marry has always been centered on seeking greater justice and dignity for all LGBTQ people. While we may be on the brink of winning the freedom to marry nationwide, such a victory will be incomplete as long as so many African-American people are denied not only justice, but their lives.

My heart aches for Freddie Gray and all the black lives that have been lost and will be lost until we end the criminalization of black and brown people in our society. Making black lives matter is just as much a part of our work and vision as winning marriage equality. Justice for the LGBTQ community can never come until every person is free from oppression and bigotry. NCLR stands with the people of Baltimore in response to the lawless and lethal violence inflicted on Freddie Gray, recognizing their outrage as a part of the long history of protests and riots by the oppressed seeking to be heard.”