Do African Americans Sympathize with the Gay Rights Movement?
1 year ago
Some do, but feel it shouldn't be compared to Civil Rights Movement
Take a moment to browse the Human Rights Campaign’s website and you’ll see some well-known black faces—Mo’Nique, NAACP chairman emeritus Julian Bond, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker—all giving brief explanations on why they believe marriage should be a right of all Americans.
“I know a little something about fighting for what is right and just,” Bond said in his 30-second appeal.
“I support marriage equality because I believe in the 14th amendment—equal protection under the law,” Booker said.
“I believe that since we’ve all been given free will, let’s use our will to let others be free,” Mo’Nique said.
Of the seven videos on the site, four of them feature prominent African-Americans. Was this messaging purposeful? Did the Human Rights Campaign want to make African-Americans the face of its newest campaign?
It might not make much logical sense, considering that blacks have consistently showed lower levels of acceptance of gay and lesbians in polls and surveys. According to the latest data, 58% of Americans think that LGBT couples should be accepted by society. But when it comes to black respondents, the number drops to 49%.
Currently, only a handful of states will grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, with another smattering of states recognizing varying levels of rights, from civil unions to domestic partnerships. But as the fight for marriage equality gains momentum, with more Americans supporting same-sex marriage than opposing it and legislation pending in several states, some have drawn comparisons to the civil rights movement.
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, an organization that fights to eradicate racism and discrimination in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, said she understands the comparisons, but it’s really not an apples-to-apples situation.