There can be no doubt that Senator Barack Obama is a proponent of gay rights. There should be no question on that point. But in their zealous defense of their candidate regarding the McClurkin controversy, some Obama supporters have argued that a strong defense of gay rights alienates African American voters. This is not borne out by the positions taken by these African American leaders.
FROM TIME to time, America comes to a crossroads. With confusion and controversy, it’s hard to spot that moment. We need cool heads, warm hearts, and America’s core principles to cleanse away the distractions.
We are now at such a crossroads over same-sex couples’ freedom to marry. It is time to say forthrightly that the government’s exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families. It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It denies them numerous legal protections for their families.
This discrimination is wrong. We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.
[S]ome high-profile black ministers continue to employ an agenda focused solely on sexually-based themes, like denying a women’s right to choose an abortion or a gay couple’s right to marry, to rally their congregations and drive a wedge through our people.
Not only are they speaking narrowly on the issues of gay marriage and abortion, but even as the Supreme Court is today taking on affirmative action, there has been silence from the black church.
Many African-Americans recognize the narrowness of scope of these beliefs. To that end, we held a conference — The National Conference and Revival for Social Justice in the Black Church — in Dallas, Texas, last week where more than 100 ministers restated and reemphasized what issues are of dire importance to the black populace as a whole.
At times ebullient, at times seemingly close to tears of joy, Mayor David N. Dinkins defied his detractors yesterday and joined a rousing dance at an outdoor celebration in Greenwich Village with the Irish lesbians and gay men he had joined in Saturday’s abuse-marred St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“The behavior of some people yesterday was despicable,” the Mayor declared as scores of people at the party in Sheridan Square surged around him on a springlike afternoon, chanting his name over and over and singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”
“You did the right thing!” someone shouted.
“We all did the right thing,” Mr. Dinkins responded.
Yes of course, like of all our society, there is homophobia in the African-American community. But to portray this unacceptable view as dominant in the African-American political makeup is simply false.