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LGBT Rights Groups Issue Statement Seeking Justice In Killing Of Trayvon Martin

No strangers to bigotry, a number of national LGBT groups (as well as several prominent civil rights organizations) have lent their voices and support to the Trayvon Martin cause:

The tragic killing of Trayvon Martin is a national call to action. Our hearts go out to Trayvon’s family and friends for the loss they have experienced. We stand in solidarity with them as they demand answers and justice. We represent organizations with diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituencies.

Many in our community have been targets of bigotry and bias. We have a great deal of experience grappling with the role bias plays in violent crimes against our communities. We well know the stories of young people targeted for violence just because of who they are: Rashawn Brazell, Lawrence King, Ali Forney, Deoni Jones, Brandon White, Matthew Shepard, Angie Zapata, Sean Kennedy and countless others.

Trayvon’s killing is a wakeup call to the enduring cancer of racism and racial profiling. The pain his family continues to endure transcends communities and unites us all. Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety.

Trayvon’s killing is tragic and the stark reality that racial bias played a role in his death has alarmed our nation. Questions must be asked. Answers must be sought. And justice must be served. We join our voices to the chorus of so many others to demand that local and federal authorities find those answers. We stand in solidarity with Trayvon’s family and friends as they seek justice for his killing. In the timeless words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

The signatories to this letter include:

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
Equality Federation
Family Equality Council
Freedom to Marry
Human Rights Campaign
Immigration Equality
International Federation of Black Prides
Lambda Legal
LGBT Progress at the Center for American Progress
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Stonewall Democrats
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
PFLAG National
Pride at Work
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)
The Trevor Project


So as to appear “fair and balanced”, we would be remiss if we did not share that a number of gun organizations have come out in support of George Zimmerman:

Responding to what they see as a one-sided battle in the court of public opinion, gun advocacy groups have surfaced in recent days to pledge legal support to the defense of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in February. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, but has not been charged with a crime and is not in custody.

The case, which is being investigated by federal officials, has triggered national outrage and calls for the civilian neighborhood watchman to be prosecuted. But some gun advocates have jumped to his defense, saying his reputation — the subject of much media scrutiny and public scorn — has been ruined.

“We wanted to help someone who we feel has been wronged and found guilty in the court of public opinion,” Chris Kossmann of Legal Boom, a Tampa, Florida-based gun rights group, told HLN Monday in a phone interview.

“People have been crying for justice but we don’t think people know what real justice is. As of yet nobody’s stood up for him (Zimmerman),” Kossmann said. “There’s never really been an outlet for people to support Zimmerman. They are numerous people supporting the other side,” he said. “But anyone who has sided with Zimmerman has been ridiculed for it.”

Kossman said Legal Boom has been in contact with Zimmerman attorney Craig Sonner about contributing to the neighborhood watch captain’s defense fund. “We have spoken with him (Sonner) on two different occasions.” Declining to cite specifics, Kossmann said, “We’re currently working together to further our talks.”

Another gun rights organization, the National Association for Legal Gun Defense, seeks to donate $10,000 toward Zimmerman’s legal expenses, the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday. Fort Worth, Texas, attorney Blue Rannefeld, whom the newspaper cites as a member, says he is trying to get in contact with Sonner to make the group’s offer.

Calls by HLN to a publicly listed number for Rannefeld’s law office were not returned Monday.


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