Illinois Unites for Marriage, the group lobbying to pass gay marriage in Illinois has mastered the art of political counter programming -- winning the endorsement of people not normally associated with gay rights. First, it released a letter with the signatures of 200 clergy members. Then, four famous Chicago athletes, including Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. Its latest counterintuitive missive comes from a group of country stars. Country music, of course, is most popular with white, rural Americans -- one of the groups most resistant to gay marriage.
Country Stars for Gay Marriage
Demonstrators chant outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, as the court heard arguments on California's voter approved ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Friday, May 3, 2013 Updated at 1:54 PM CDT
Here’s the letter.
Traditionally speaking, country music, arguably more than any other genre, draws its inspiration from that inexplicable conundrum known as the human condition. Songs and stories of love, family, joy, and human imperfection are the root of its appeal. Imagine a world without Ray Charles' version of "I Can't Stop Loving You" or Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone." To deny our gay brothers and sisters the right to legally ritualize their love – to marry – is to deny that they too experience the complexity of human emotion that make a song like Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" the shared phenomenon that it is.
It's the artist's job to remind us that the heart is the place where our true holiness resides. It's why the word ‘heart’ is pervasive in so many great songs. Can the human heart ever truly be governed? Gay or straight, when two people are lucky enough to find each other and want to commit their lives to one another, it is nothing less than a blessing to us all.
“Big” Kenny Alphin
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Opponents of gay marriage, the next move is yours. Let’s see an anti-gay marriage letter signed by techno stars or R&B divas.