Black Churches, Gay Marriage and Nuance

The Washington Post
The Washington Post

In the New York Times, Josef Sorett says that although black churches and black people have a reputation for being anti-gay, these organizations and individuals are changing.


Black churches and black people, in general, continue to be portrayed as especially anti-gay, but we should remember that these organizations and individuals are not static.

First, in the realm of activism, there is the stubborn idea that race and sexuality are competing or mutually exclusive. And it is certainly true that lobbyists against gay marriage (mostly white and from the right) have tried to reinforce a vision of gay rights and (presumably black) civil rights as inherently at odds with one another. But many black Christians are now having more nuanced conversations about the significance of sexual identity and expression in determining the measure of full citizenship. Some black churches are seeing shared commitments with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists, even as these churches affirm that the African American struggles of the 1960s were unique.

Given these conversations, a number of black Christians openly support the full and equal protection of all citizens, including gays and lesbians. It is not such a leap, when churches emphasize their commitment to social justice (explicit in the disputes over the term "civil rights") and when activists focus on specific legal "privileges" like hospital visitation rights, inheritance, and nondiscrimination in employment and housing

Read Josef Sorett's entire piece at the New York Times.