President Barack Obama’s marriage rights annoucment is having a ripple effect with black politicians and organizations. The oldest civil rights oganization in the US, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said today (19 May) that its board of directors voted to support marriage equality.
‘Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people,’ said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.
The organization will hold a press conference on Monday (21 May) to discuss its new postion.
How the black community reacts to the president’s "evolution" on marriage rights has been a topic of debate. Last week when Newsweek hailed President Barack Obama as the first gay president, political analyst Glenn Reynolds quipped the magazine should be handed out in ‘black barbershops in key precincts.’
On the whole, the African-American community in the US holds a dim view of marriage rights. This past April, a Pew Charitable Trust survey noted that ‘since 2008, the proportion of African Americans favoring gay marriage has increased from 26 percent to 39 percent, while opposition has fallen from 63 percent to 49 percent.’
Despite this, right now it seems black voters have not changed their opinion about Obama. In a different Pew poll, published on 14 May, approximately 68 percent of black voters say his ‘evolution’ did not alter their opinion of him. ‘About as many say it made them view Obama more favorably (16 percent) as less favorably (13 percent).’
How the black community responds to same-sex marriage has been a contested topic with gay political analysts ever since 2008. That year Proposition 8, a ban on marriages between same sex couples, was passed by California voters. An early CNN exit poll hinted the restriction won due to a large majority of black support (70 percent). Those figures were called into question by multiple experts.