by Incarcerated Flavors

The Black AIDS Institute Applauds the Supreme Court Decision Striking Down the Defense of Marriage Act Statement by THE BLACK AIDS INSTITUTE June 27, 2013 -There are moments in our journey through life that we experience as monumental — moments that redefine the very course of our existence as human beings. For many people 10:43 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 was one of those moments. When th…e highest court in our land struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, righting an unconstitutional and humanly reprehensible wrong and reversing more than 15 years of same-sex couples’ prohibition from fully affirming their relationships in the eyes of the federal government. The Black AIDS Institute applauds the Supreme Court’s wisdom. “Today the Supreme Court of the United States has put the winds of progress back in the sails of those of us who are dedicated both to the fight against injustice and to stopping HIV/AIDS in its tracks,” said Neil Lowe, Ph.D., chair of the board of the Black AIDS Institute. “I am emboldened in my determination to fight even harder. I am happy for my fellow LGBT veterans and brothers and sisters in the struggle.” The Supreme Court’s decision clears the path for people living in the 38 states that still ban same-sex marriage to force those bans to be reversed, allowing same-gender-loving people living in the Land of the Free to being truly free. Free to love whomever they choose and free to care for their love ones in life and in death, in sickness and health. “Black Americans should applaud this decision as a victory for civil rights that can further help us reduce new black MSM HIV infections and deaths from AIDS,” said Jesse Milan, Jr., the Black AIDS Institute’s chair emeritus and a Black gay man legally married to his same-sex spouse for five years. “Marriage not only encourages fidelity, but opens the door to spousal health care benefits that Black gay couples have had denied to them for too long.” Consistent with this the Black AIDS Institute is committed to a bold yet achievable vision: an AIDS-free generation and complete viral suppression among people living with HIV, by providing both care and treatment and the ability to remain in care without fear of financial ruin or discrimination. None of this is possible in a nation where draconian laws in some states prevent people impacted by HIV/AIDS from expressing basic freedoms and accessing care. Our struggle is not over. We must bring about marriage equality in the remaining 38 states. And with several states wasting valuable resources fighting the proper implementation of the Affordable Care Act and sequestration devastating critical HIV/AIDS services, much work remains to be done. Still, yesterday we moved one glorious step closer to the day when we no longer have to fight for this great Union to do right by all of its citizens. It’s important to mark this pivotal moment. About the Black AIDS Institute: Founded in 1999, the Black AIDS Institute is the only national HIV/AIDS think tank in the United States focused exclusively on Black people. The Institute’s mission is to end the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black leaders, institutions, and individuals in efforts to confront HIV/AIDS. The institute disseminates information, offers training and capacity building, and provides advocacy and mobilization from a uniquely and unapologetically Black point of view