When Proposition 8 in California and Amendment 1 in North Carolina passed, many in the LGBT community expressed dismay at the lack of support from the black community. While I suspect that they relied too much on the identification as a social minority, a status they expected to resonate with blacks and gain their sympathetic vote, they unrealistically discounted the influence that religion has on the black community. This opinion isn't shared by everyone. While not challenging the validity of this opinion, Adam Frankel sees it as a less important aspect of the issue.
(Source)President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage has unleashed broad discussions on LGBT rights and how his newly evolved stance may affect November election results. Many have focused specifically on how it will impact black voters, a key Obama constituency that could potentially sway the results in a number of swing states. While most point to the relatively low 41 percent of African Americans who support marriage equality, a recent ABC/Washington Post poll shows that 54 percent of African Americans view Obama’s newly announced position favorably. Nonetheless, many continue to suggest that it will discourage former supporters in the black community from heading to the polls, or that influential African-American religious leaders will suddenly neglect to campaign on the president’s behalf. Yet almost none have stopped to reflect upon how such claims dismiss the support of countless African Americans who lauded Obama’s decision and avidly support LGBT rights.
The president’s support of marriage equality is undoubtedly an historic development in the struggle for LGBT equality. Unfortunately, it cannot undo the recent loss in North Carolina, nor the many disheartening setbacks that are yet to come. It can however allow us to pause in a moment of reflection. We should take advantage of this unique opportunity to better understand where we have failed and how we can improve. Rather than ignorantly race-blaming and creating divisions among ourselves, we must seek to embrace the intersections of identity that define our vibrant community. Now is the time to abandon failed approaches that privilege given rights and people over others. It is the moment for us to join in solidarity by presenting a unified demand for universal justice and equality for all.
But yesterday a new factor was introduced into the equation.
(Source)The board of the N.A.A.C.P. voted to endorse same-sex marriage on Saturday, putting the weight of the country’s most prominent civil rights group behind a cause that has long divided some quarters of the black community.
The largely symbolic move, made at the group’s meeting in Miami, puts the N.A.A.C.P. in line with President Obama, who endorsed gay marriage a little over a week ago. Given the timing, it is likely to be viewed as both a statement of principle as well as support for the president’s position in the middle of a closely contested presidential campaign.
All but two of the organization’s board members, who include many religious leaders, backed a resolution supporting same-sex marriage, according to people told of the decision.
Borrowing a term used by gay rights advocates, the resolution stated, “We support marriage equality consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
In a statement, Roslyn M. Brock, chairwoman of the 64-member board, said, “We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law.”
The N.A.A.C.P. has been grappling with the issue for several years. Among religious figures on the board, the issue was especially fraught with meaning.
Maxim Thorne, a former high-ranking official with the organization, said that “for certain people, it was a very long evolution and a very long process of reconciling their faith with this, and coming to a very civil rights understanding of marriage equality versus a theological understanding of marriage.”
So I wonder; will blacks now accept the concept of equality of marriage rights for LGBT people a civil rights issue or will they continue to listen more to their religious leaders and oppose it on dogmatic grounds?
Will the National Organization for Marriage succeed in their efforts to create a philosophical divide between blacks and the LGBT communities?
(Source)The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has gone public with a series of confidential documents which outline the NationalOrganization for Marriage's (NOM) multi-year plan to thwart the national campaign for marriage equality.
The documents reportedly emerged as part of an ongoing investigation by the state of Maine into NOM's illegal campaign finance practices, and reveal some of the group's racially-driven strategies:
"The strategic goal…is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…"