Why Marriage Matters to African Americans
Many in the African American community — from religious leaders to established organizations like the National Black Justice Coalition — have shown support for the freedom to marry.
African American faith leaders across several denominations have joined the discussion on securing the freedom to marry for committed couples using the language of faith to promote love, tolerance, and humanity for all. Longtime civil rights leaders such as Coretta Scott King, Julian Bond, and Congressman John Lewis have spoken out against what they see as discrimination.
According to the 2000 Census, there are almost 85,000 Black same-sex couples in the United States, representing 14 percent of all the nation’s same-sex couples. 58 percent of black female same-sex couples and forty-five percent of black male same-sex couples are raising children. These rates are nearly twice those of white same-sex couples. Because they are more likely to be raising children, at comparatively lower wages, black same-sex couples have more to gain from legal recognition of their relationships and more to lose when states pass amendments banning marriage and other forms of partner recognition.
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 bigotry.