Kim Kardashian and the food chain Chick-Fil-A caught flak this week from gay Americans -- one for trivializing the institution of marriage, the other for shelling out nearly 2 million dollars to anti-gay groups -- while another group, African-Americans, seemed to be making some headway in support of the LGBT community's efforts for marriage equality.
Although the relationship between gay and African Americans has been complicated at best, the Human Rights Campaign, one of the leading groups promoting same-sex marriage, initiated the Americans For Marriage Equality campaign, calling on notable African Americans, including actress Mo'Nique, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former NAACP chairman Julian Bond to speak out in support of same-sex marriage through video testimonials, which are likely to become TV ads down the road.
"In its infancy the H.R.C. effort ... has showcased three prominent black Americans in a row. That's no accident," New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Bruni said in a column earlier this week.
According to the Times, between 58 and 70 percent of black voters backed the prohibition of California's Proposition 8, which prohibited state recognition of same-sex marriage. In addition to that, the Times reports:
Last April, as the successful push for same-sex marriage in New York picked up speed, a survey of state voters by the Siena College Research Institute found that 62 percent of white voters and 54 percent of Latino voters favored it. Only 46 percent of black voters did.
And in Maryland, which is almost certain to debate same-sex marriage next year, a recent poll by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies depicted a split among the state's residents, with 48 percent in favor and 49 opposed. Among black Marylanders, though, support fell to 41 percent and opposition rose to 59.
African Americans' long-standing resistance to gay marriage has been attributed to religious beliefs, while others have contested that it's a blow to the already struggling black family. Others feel that a greater separation needs to be made between the persecution of gay and black Americans throughout the country's history.
For Cory Booker, the debate is rooted in love, or the lack thereof. "I support marriage equality because I support love," he says in his video testimonial. "And in this nation, we need a lot more of it."
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