Author Topic: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?  (Read 8521 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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TIME:

Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
The President might be on the right side of history, but he's on the wrong side of a crucial voting bloc
By TOURÉ | @Toure | May 9, 2012 |


They say the arc of history bends toward justice. If that’s true then as a nation we’re having a hard time bending on the issue of gay rights. But this week will be remembered as an historic turning point because President Obama threw political caution to the wind and came out as the man who can put principle over politics in announcing his support for marriage equality. “I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told Robin Roberts in an interview to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.

Polls show America is trending toward embracing gay marriage. We now have a thin and growing majority that supports marriage equality. And we have the young Millennial generation strongly in favor of marriage equality while the older Boomers are firmly against. But national acceptance of gay marriage remains a long, hard slog. This week, North Carolina planted its feet in the past by becoming the 30th state to legally prohibit gay marriage and also abolished civil unions, thus enshrining romantic segregation in their state constitution. Separate and unequal in matters of the heart. We should all be ashamed that we’re still restricting civil rights to certain groups of Americans. Barring gays from marriage says their committed relationships don’t merit the protection or sanctity of marriage — an important step both socially and legally. It says their love and commitment is of lesser value. The sanctity of marriage in America has not been compromised by the thousands of married gay couples we already have. The institution of marriage was mocked by the sham made-for-TV 72 day marriage of Kim Kardashian and yet no bill has been proposed barring her from the altar.

In North Carolina we can see why the President’s position on marriage equality is so politically risky. Despite Presidents Obama and Clinton calling for the Amendment’s defeat, North Carolinians voted enthusiastically in favor of Amendment One with the highest turnout for a primary in 25 years. More than 500,000 people voted early, another primary record. Gay marriage is an issue that draws people to the polls in droves — even in a state where there was already a law banning same sex marriage. It is an issue that people on both sides of the debate feel deeply and intensely and one that could shape the election. For the President to support marriage equality will perhaps bring in big money from gay donors, will embolden some supporters who were disappointed by his equivocation about gay rights and who will be inspired by him standing up for what he believes. Trying to protect a legally oppressed group of Americans is what the bully pulpit is for. But this step could endanger him in the South and in heavily religious states and with black Americans. Supporting marriage equality could damage his chance for re-election as much as any other issue. It’s one that strikes deep into how people feel about the core values of their nation and their Bible.

The constituency calculus makes this choice politically risky for Obama. Black voters, who were critical to Obama’s ‘08 victory, are strongly against marriage equality. A recent Washington Post/ABC poll found 55% of blacks oppose gay marriage and 42% support it, which is almost the opposite of white voters — 53% support and 43% oppose. This opposition, I think, comes from what many blacks are told by their church. Black antipathy toward gay rights is so deep that the National Organization for Marriage was planning to use it as part of their strategy in their battle to prevent marriage equality. A secret memo revealed their “Not A Civil Right Project” whose goal was “to drive a wedge between gays and blacks.” They would do this by finding and publicizing blacks who’d object to gay marriage as a civil right thus provoking gay marriage supporters into “denouncing [them] as bigots.” The point was divide and conquer: “No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.” And just like that blacks would become pawns of social conservatives, helping to block gays from a civil right.

I suspect it might have worked because I usually find that linking the gay rights struggle with the battle for racial justice in any way tends to elicit angry responses from many black people. Many show no empathy for gays as another legally oppressed minority and have no desire to see any similarity between the two historically oppressed identity groups. I hear people talk about  how much harder and more violent life has been for black Americans than gay Americans as if there’s an Oppression Olympics. The comparison is irrelevant. Hearing of the legalized discrimination of a group of people should send chills down black backs. We know what that feels like.

With blacks lagging behind the country on marriage equality but still a crucial bloc for Obama, the White House has made a courageous bet that black voters won’t punish him and that being on the right side of history will not eventually hurt him. Obama has seemed to want to overtly support marriage equality for a while — a year ago he said gays, “are our brothers, our sisters, our children, our cousins, our friends, our coworkers, and they’ve got to be treated like every other American … I think we’re moving in a direction of greater equality and — and I think that’s a good thing.” Meanwhile his administration has repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, refused to back the Defense of Marriage Act, and expanded federal hate crime law to protect gays. Hillary Clinton, in Geneva in December, said, “Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.” And this week Vice President Biden said he was, “absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights.” But, until now the President remained cautious about publicly favoring gay marriage. Does this mean North Carolina and other states that are staunchly anti-gay marriage are lost? Does it mean Obama would rather stand on principle and lose than be a politician and win? Or perhaps he sees this as part of a victory strategy that rebrands himself as the courageous politician who will take hard stands and will stand up for the people.



Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/05/09/will-black-voters-punish-obama-for-his-support-of-gay-rights/#ixzz1uUPEzpjV

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 11:52:45 am »
Interesting. You would think hope that disagreeing on one social issue wouldn't trump support for the President.

On the other hand, I scratch my head at the single issue "Right to life" voters too.
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Offline Lion

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 01:33:34 pm »
"Right to Life" = "Right to Life (until you are born)"

I always found it interesting that the same people so virulently opposed to gay marriage for "Biblical" reasons seem to have no problem with divorcees remarrying people other than their exes.

Offline DRobinson

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2012, 07:48:59 am »
While I believe Obama did the right thing, I don’t believe he threw “caution to the wind” as Toure’ writes. When Biden floated a trial balloon a week earlier, publically announcing his support of marriage equality, there is NO CHANCE that his statement was not orchestrated. That said, Obama is showing political courage by announcing a position perceived to be in opposition to a core group of supporters.

But what if black voters are really not as opposed to same sex marriage as most believe them to be?  Maybe Obama (and his handlers) have a better read on voter hot buttons than the rest of us. I think Obama may see a net gain in voter support as a result of his getting on the right side of this issue. We will know very soon.

Offline Redjack

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2012, 08:20:53 am »
i support marriage equality but if you say "gay is the new black" to me, that's the end of us talking.

Soon you will come to know. When the bullet hits the bone.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2012, 12:04:35 pm »
i support marriage equality but if you say "gay is the new black" to me, that's the end of us talking.

Yeah, that's crazy talk and it annoys me too. Our history and experience is unique, period.
I try to take a deep breath and remember that oppression is still wrong. Fuzzy thinking doesn't change that.
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Offline Battle

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2012, 11:04:42 am »
I don't have a problem with same sex marriage, however, had I not encountered two individuals in the past to help me understand the issue better, I would've believed that same sex marriages were an abomination to humankind.

The first person was an actor who worked as a waiter at a Mexican restaurant called Zarellas on the east side of mid-Manhattan and was a co-worker of my roommate. He was the first man I had ever met who was married to another guy and I remember thinking at the time that was the most odd thing I had ever heard. :-\  Dude had the wedding band on his finger and everything.

SLAM DUNK by Keith Haring

The other person was an artist I met at Washington Square Park in downtown Manhattan during a open street performance named Keith Haring who was generous enough to sign his autograph on the newspaper I was holding in my right hand. I didn't know anything about his sexual orientation or his personal life.  All I knew was his work that would appear in art galleries, shows, buildings, sculptures, subway trains, album covers or anywhere that had a flat surface.  Six months later, he had passed away and what I remember most, reading about him was that his last days was spent alone with his immediate family in the hospital but he could not legally be visited by his lover because he wasn't considered family nor could his lover inherit any possessions they both acquired and Mr. Haring was rich. His lover didn't get sh!t. I remember thinking that was the worst thing I had ever heard.

Of course, all of this was over 20 years ago,  which gave me a lot of time to think about this same sex marriage issue.
Here we have a sitting U.S. President who happens to be African-American who supports same sex marriage in 2012. If my Black U.S. President supports this issue, then so do I.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 02:40:02 am by Battle »

Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 11:20:33 am »
I'm glad that a prez have enough balls to flat out say it.

Quote
I don't have a problem with same sex marriage, however, had I not encountered two individuals in the past to help me understand the issue better, I would've believed that same sex marriages were an abomination to humankind.
Good thing you had these encounters but at the same time one didn't need to have these to understand the bullsh*t of this debate. Marriages is a union of 2 people. It doesn't state anything regarding a Man and woman. Marriage is not a religious thing. It never was. It just some made up sh*t out of the asses of many whom claim this. It is simple 2 people love each other and they have every right to make it official. Why take it away from them? If I hear or view another random person on FB, youtube, twitter or anything else online bringing up another biblical quote im going to scream
wait........



AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

that didnt take long at all ROFL.

With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

Offline Wise Son

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 11:44:50 am »
Out of interest, has anyone said they'd be OK with having civil / legal marriages for same-sex couples, and let religious organisations make up their own minds?

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Offline Battle

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 12:37:32 pm »
Good thing you had these encounters but at the same time one didn't need to have these to understand the bullsh*t of this debate. Marriages is a union of 2 people. It doesn't state anything regarding a Man and woman. Marriage is not a religious thing. It never was. It just some made up sh*t out of the asses of many whom claim this. It is simple 2 people love each other and they have every right to make it official. Why take it away from them? If I hear or view another random person on FB, youtube, twitter or anything else online...


Two men marrying each other back in the 80s was very bizarre to me.

Actually, I did need to understand the issue the way I did.  From what I understood, the concept of marriage (at least, in the U.S.) was originally and historically intended to be a legal union of 2 people (typically a man & a woman) to bring together 2 families all for the sole purpose of increasing ones wealth.  Today, people marry for different reasons.

This issue of same sex marriage is really about inheritance and what constitutes a family between 2 women and 2 men.  Very little to do about gay rights.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 08:23:44 pm by Battle »

Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2012, 01:50:55 pm »


Two men marrying each other back in the 80s was very bizarre to me.

Actually, I did need to understand the issue the way I did.  From what I understood, the concept of marriage (at least, in the U.S.) was originally and historically intended to be a legal union of 2 people (typically a man & a woman) to bring together 2 families all for the sole purpose of increasing ones wealth.  Today, people marry for different reasons.

This issue of same marriage is really about inheritance and what constitutes a family between 2 women and 2 men.  Very little to do about gay rights.
Truthfully it was "bizarre" but that was more based one's upbringing. It isn't anymore bizarre that this is the same decade that said "aids came from gay people".

There have always been different reasons in marrying another this is nothing new. It is more of the culture where one comes from than anything else. Unfortunately most cultures aren't cool with gays marrying one another.

Now as many "baby mamas and baby daddies" out there whose to say that a "family" exist at all?

Out of interest, has anyone said they'd be OK with having civil / legal marriages for same-sex couples, and let religious organisations make up their own minds?
the sad part is that happens already
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 01:54:05 pm by BmoreAkuma »
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

Offline Battle

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2012, 02:45:06 pm »
Now as many "baby mamas and baby daddies" out there whose to say that a "family" exist at all?






You'll get no arguement from me there.



Quote
There have always been different reasons in marrying another this is nothing new. It is more of the culture where one comes from than anything else. Unfortunately most cultures aren't cool with gays marrying one another.





Of course, they do but I'm gonna let you in on a little secret:
(whisper)The majority of people get married in America for financial security.

Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2012, 04:49:00 pm »


Of course, they do but I'm gonna let you in on a little secret:
(whisper)The majority of people get married in America for financial security.
And since many gays especially men have a tendency to make more money than their straight counterparts why cant gays get married
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

Offline Battle

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 08:16:10 pm »
And since many gays especially men have a tendency to make more money than their straight counterparts why cant gays get married



Are you asking me?   I've already written that I don't have a problem with same sex marriages.

Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: Will Black Voters Punish Obama for His Support of Gay Rights?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 08:49:51 pm »
And since many gays especially men have a tendency to make more money than their straight counterparts why cant gays get married



Are you asking me?   I've already written that I don't have a problem with same sex marriages.
no just commenting on you point thats all
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.