Legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond becomes the third and latest installment to the Human Rights Campaign's Americans for Marriage Equality.
"Gay and lesbian couples have the same values as everyone else," says the NAACP Chairman Emeritus and longtime LGBT rights ally. "Love, commitment and stable families. They should have the same right to marry as the rest of us."
Bond, who was one of first Blacks elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, has been especially vocal on gay issues in recent years. As a result of Bond's leadership, the NAACP now has an LGBT Equality Task Force. And the national NAACP (finally) took a position on marriage equality and called for the overturn of California's Proposition 8. Bond also spoke at the 2009 National Equality March and has pushed for marriage equality legislation in Maryland and New Jersey.
The first prominent spokespersons in this video series were Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Academy Award-winning actress Mo’Nique. It is "no accident" that the first three videos featured prominent Black allies, writes New York Times columnist Frank Bruni today.
This isn’t a topic that advocates for gay rights or their many black supporters relish discussing, because it focuses on a wedge where they wish there was a tighter bond. But polls indicate that support for same-sex marriage lags among black Americans. ...
[M]any African-Americans who oppose same-sex marriage do so on religious grounds. "This is a community composed of many Biblical literalists," Bond said in a recent phone interview, adding that they put a "wrong and wrong-headed" emphasis on certain Biblical references to homosexuality.
Wade Henderson, the president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, noted the existence of phrases like "gay is the new black" and said that attempts to equate the persecution of gay and black Americans can be "deeply offensive."
African-Americans were enslaved. And during their brutal struggle for justice, they couldn’t make a secret of what set them apart from others, said Henderson, who supports same-sex marriage, during a phone interview Friday. When gay men and lesbians glide over such details, he said, it feels "inherently disrespectful to the black experience in this country."
It's too bad that Bruni references the much-hyped Prop 8 exit polls—debunked by several experts—but the point remains valid. Black communities tend to be more religious and attend more fundamentalist churches. Read the full column HERE.
The larger issue: Many LGBT rights organizations (and media) do relatively little networking with Black LGBTs—let alone the larger Black community. HRC is addressing that deficit with campaign, but it will take a lot more effort. Bottom line: You can't expect someone's support, you have to ask for it.
Watch Julian Bond's video AFTER THE JUMP ...