There will be those who seek to use this issue to divide our community. As a people, we cannot afford such division. It is our hope that conversations on strengthening African American families continue in a civil and respectful way, on all sides, both with those who support the ability of same-sex couples to marry, and those who do not.
We are glad that President Obama has joined Dr. Joseph Lowery, Dr. Julian Bond and so many others in full embrace of equality for gay and lesbian individuals in our country. We also welcome the civil debate on this issue that will surely spring. And we encourage all individuals to keep all issues of import to our communities in mind in the days ahead, and we seek to secure equal justice, opportunity and dignity for all God’s children.
Meanwhile Earl Ofari Hutchison, a political analyst who co-hosts Al Sharpton‘s radio show writes that there’s no evidence that blacks voting for anti-gay-marriage initiatives would also vote against the president:
Gay marriage is really only a political worry, or more accurately, a political talking point now because Obama became the first sitting president to cautiously endorse gay marriage. And because his endorsement of it came right in the middle of a presidential election year. Before that polls showed that the issue of gay marriage wallowed at the bottom of the list of issues that worry voters the most. The runaway leader is jobs and the economy. The handful of black ministers that rushed again to quote Bible verses to denounce gay marriage were careful not to connect the dots from that to any vote against or even coolness toward Obama in November.
He also notes a Pew poll that shows blacks’ opposition to same-sex marriage has plunged from 63 percent to 49 percent in just four years.
Look, I don’t care how many times you say black Christians “seem divided” (especially when you follow it with an unattributed quote)—put up the numbers or shut up.
UPDATE: Pew puts up some numbers!
So, a whopping 68 percent of black voters say their view of Obama wasn’t impacted, and 16 percent say it was impacted positively. Only 13 percent say it was impacted negatively—and I doubt many of those people rank same-sex marriage as the single issue they vote on. (You know who didn’t like it? 29 percent of white voters. Where’s the story about Obama losing them?)
Photo via the White House