Monday, March 01, 2004

Gay Marriage, the Klan and Black America

Today's New York Times sort of gets it right on the topic of the black church and gay marriage. The paper of record is usually lacking when it writes about black America. Unfortunately whenever low expectations are exceeded, a little credit must be given.

Black people make very conservative statements on the issue of sex, but those beliefs don't necessarily translate into conservative action. The disproportionate numbers of HIV cases in our community are proof of that. In addition, we tend not to be active on issues outside of race and civil rights. We have opinions on other topics just like the rest of America, but don't actively participate in the public sphere. I don't think you will find many of us at a conference on global warming, but black people have been accusing "them" of "changing the weather" since the 70s.

This contradiction makes it hard to figure out how black people feel about gay marriage and what if anything we will do about it. Most blacks are opposed to gay marriage but would most support a constitutional amendment to ban it? I don't think so. At the same time we are very reluctant to consider gay rights a civil rights issue.

Unfortunately, many of our clergy have spoken out so strongly against gay marriage they must have lost brain cells in the process. The Times gives us this quote that is stunning in its ignorance and stupidity.

"If the K.K.K. opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them."

This gem comes from a Rev. Gregory Daniels. Some people let hyperbole take over when they get near a microphone or perhaps it is a case of a neurological disease. If someone out there knows Rev. Daniels and has an explanation for his bizarre statement please get in touch with me.

I first wrote on the issue last fall in Black Commentator. I was concerned that white conservatives who are rarely concerned about problems in the black community were suddenly finding black people to join them in hand wringing over gay rights. I doubt that many of us will fall for it. At the end of the day, we know that our interests are not those of the right wing of the republican party.