18 May 2012

Race and Marriage Equality

A few weeks ago there was a big news story about a leak that NOM and other anti-LGBTQ hate groups had been purposely trying to use race baiting techniques to slow the progress of LGBTQ rights and divide the Democrat base. Even with this revelation, however, I've seen many people continue to buy into this nonsense that People of Color are somehow super anti-LGBTQ and super opposed to Queer rights.

I see some polling from Proposition 8 used especially to try to sell this case. This is simply not the case. When the statistics are analyzed, race was not a significant predictor of how one voted on Proposition 8. Frequency of attendance at a religious service, on the other hand, was significant. When the stats are controlled for religious service attendance, race didn't predict one's vote. (Source).

We have recently received even more support for the idea that African Americans are NOT ultra-opposed to marriage equality. There is this meme in the mainstream media that somehow President Obama is going to lose the support of Black voters by supporting marriage equality. This is not what we are seeing. In fact, we are potentially seeing a very exciting phenomena - President Obama's announcement helping other African Americans to "evolve" on marriage equality. President Obama's announcement has played a role in increasing the percentage of Black voters who support marriage equality. It helped to sway people on the fence about the issue. (Source).

It should also be noted that in North Carolina, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) opposed the anti-LGBTQ amendment. The NAACP didn't just openly oppose the amendment either. The NAACP spent money on robocalls, advertisements, and fliers encouraging people to vote No on Amendment 1. (Source)

I want to quickly mention the Latino community as well, due in part from the leak of NOM's race baiting tactics. La Raza has issued a number of statements concerning marriage equality, often noting the majority support for marriage equality among Latinos. (Example).

What hate groups like NOM are trying to do is stir up racism in Queer people, and heterosexism in People of Color. These tactics are unacceptable, and it is sad so many people have fallen for them. We need to reject these narratives that Black people oppose marriage equality, or that African American voters are going to turn away from President Obama for his support of marriage equality. These don't fit reality. People of Color face extreme prejudice in the United States, as do Queer people. There are also Queer People of Color. NOM's race baiting was both racist and heterosexist, and this isn't the only case where these issues go hand in hand. Systems of dominance and oppression are dependent upon one another. We must fight the different forms of oppression simultaneously if we expect to reach equality for anybody (and of course we should be seeking equality for everybody to begin with!).


I also want to note, as it is becoming increasingly more important to say it - President Obama gave us a huge gift when he endorsed marriage equality. We need to use that gift (especially in the upcoming marriage battles), and we need to thank him for that gift. Donate, volunteer, engage in dialogue, sign the thank you websites, etc. Stand with President Obama on marriage equality. His announcement has allowed other politicians to come out and support marriage equality, it has helped to sway some people on the fence to support marriage equality (such as the African American example earlier). It is a huge victory, and potentially moved us months if not years forward.  Stand with President Obama on marriage equality.

EDIT 19/05/2012: NAACP, as a whole, has fully endorsed marriage equality.

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