New Ad in ‘All God’s Children’ LGBT Public Education Campaign Features Trailblazing State Lawmaker

JACKSON—Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, released the second ad in its groundbreaking LGBT public education campaign, All God’s Children.  Representative Alyce Clarke, who is the first black woman to serve in Mississippi’s state legislature, speaks about accepting and loving her gay son in the commercial.

Representative Clarke’s ad will begin to run today, alongside the first ad released last week featuring Mary Jane Kennedy, a Southern Baptist mother who has taught Bible study and Sunday school at her church.

“We are all God’s children. We need to tell our children, friends, and neighbors that we love them. That is what God wants us to do,” said Representative Clarke.

With faith at the center of the effort, the $310,000, four-week campaign aims to strengthen the foundation of public support for LGBT Mississippians, aid in the passage of pro-equality legislation, and bolster efforts to win marriage equality for Mississippi’s gay and lesbian couples.

Clickhereto watch the television ad and visit the campaign’s website.

Click herefor an embeddable version of Representative Alyce Clarke’s ad.

Clickhereto read the campaign’s fact sheet.

Born in Yazoo City, Representative Clarke has served her community for more than 25 years as a lawmaker. Alyce attends a Baptist church, and she loves and supports her gay son, and she simply wants all people—including LGBT people—to be treated equally. Her son, Dr. Demarquis Clarke, graduated from Tougaloo College, University of Southern Mississippi and Syracuse University.

Last week, HRC Mississippi hosted a telephone town hall with thousands of Mississippians from across the state. Speakers included lifetime NAACP Member and State Senator Derrick Simmons and former state representative Brandon Jones. Volunteer phone banks and door-to-door canvassing have also begun. And next week, HRC Mississippi will attend the Egg Bowl and reach out to football fans about the campaign’s message before the game.

Representative Clarke’s story is yet another powerful example of people of faith in Mississippi supporting LGBT equality in part because of their religious beliefs, not in spite of them,” said HRC Mississippi’s Rob Hill, a former Methodist minister and lifelong Mississippian.

Based on rigorous research, the campaign aims to reverse the fact that only five in ten Mississippians say they know an LGBT person when the national number stands at nine in ten Americans.  Research and our practical communal experience clearly indicates that people are far more likely to support LGBT rights and legal protections when they know someone who is LGBT.

“I looked at the campaign and it is a start of what we need to do. From a legislative standpoint, this is not an issue that is going to go away. Your rights should be the same as everyone else’s. And we are all God’s children,” said Mississippi State Senator and Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Kenneth Wayne Jones. “I hope to be a part of the change here in Mississippi. This is needed not only in Mississippi, but all over the nation. The Bible says a lot of things. But the Bible also says that all of us are God’s children.”

Motivation for this effort comes in part from the passage of the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act earlier this year. Considered by many as a license to discriminate, the law’s passage—and the governor’s signing of it surrounded by staunch opponents of equality—was a sign that Mississippi could be moving in the wrong direction on LGBT issues.

The campaign is the latest large-scale effort of HRC’s Project One America, an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional and legal equality in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. HRC Mississippi is working to advance equality for LGBT Mississippians who have no state or municipal level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations; legal state recognition for their relationships and families; state rights to jointly adopt children; and state protections from hate crimes. Through HRC Mississippi, we are working toward a future of fairness every day—changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.

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