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As Md. prepares for Question 6 vote, leaders remember Bayard Rustin

Monday - 10/8/2012, 6:15am  ET

WASHINGTON - As Maryland prepares to vote on gay marriage in the state, some are remembering the historic March on Washington - an event organized by a gay, African American man named Bayard Rustin.

"African Americans today have their civil rights, because a gay man dedicated his life to get it for them," said Reverend Dr. Susan Newman, associate minister at D.C.'s All Souls Church.

Newman says Rustin was a close adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr. Rustin's passion for Ghandi's nonviolent philosophy drew King and other leaders to him.

The March on Washington took place on Aug. 28, 1963.

"An African American gay man was the strategist and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington with A. Phillip Randolph and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Newman is among several black ministers in the area supporting Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection act.

Rustin is also the focus of a film called "Brother Outsider" that aired on PBS nearly 10 years ago.

A recent WTOP Beltway Poll found that 60 percent of Maryland voters would vote to allow gay a lesbian couples to obtain civil marriage licenses.

Watch the trailer for "Brother Outsider." Some may find the language or images in this trailer disturbing.

WTOP's Veronica Robinson contributed to this report.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)