Blacks Won't Check Out Over Gay Marriage
Despite hysteria over Obama's stance, it's unlikely that he will lose the African-American vote.
However, Malachi stressed that not all black Christians see same-sex marriage the same way. "The only place where we are in total agreement is when it comes to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior," said Malachi, who works with African-American clergy members across the country and says she sees a range of views on gay marriage, including those who have stood up for equality.
This Is Not a Leading Issue for Most Black Voters
For African-American voters who are opposed to same-sex marriage, however, there is no evidence that it is a galvanizing issue at the polls. "There's been a lot of unfounded conjecture that black support for the president will wane substantially, with absolutely no data to substantiate that," Aisha Moodie-Mills, adviser for LGBT policy and racial justice at the Center for American Progress, told The Root.
Moodie-Mills argued that we already saw this play out in 2008 over California's Proposition 8. Even though 58 percent of African-American voters supported the ballot measure, which overturned the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state, 90 percent of that same electorate still voted for Barack Obama. The massive support held up despite the fact that Obama had spoken against Proposition 8 himself.
"You didn't see any falloff from black voters because Obama said that he believes we shouldn't be discriminating at the ballot box," she said, adding that, similarly, there was no backlash around the president's repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" or his decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act.
"The top issues for African Americans are jobs and the economy," said David Bositis, senior research associate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, whose scholarship focuses on black civic engagement. "In surveys on what African-American voters consider to be the most important problems in the country, which I often ask when I poll, gay marriage does not even show up."
This week, however, writer Touré pointed to the near-record turnout in North Carolina to vote for Amendment One, which bans same-sex marriage in the state (and where black voters favored the measure 2-to-1). Isn't that proof that black voters are in fact energized around this issue?