(Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
Recent polls show increasing support for same-sex marriage among blacks. A national exit poll by Edison Research shows that black voters favored their state legalizing gay marriage, 51 to 41 percent. Pew polls have also showed an increase from 36 percent in 2011 to 44 percent last month supporting gay marriage.
According to the exit poll conducted by Edison Research on behalf of the NEP, 51 percent of black voters said their states should legally recognize same-sex marriage, compared with 47 percent of whites who favored this idea.
It's a big shift considering that in 2011, the Pew Research Center found that only 36 percent of blacks favored legalizing gay marriage, compared with 49 percent of whites supporting it.
A Pew survey found last month that long-standing racial differences in attitudes toward gay marriage were narrowing. Consistently over the past decade, blacks have been far less supportive of legalizing gay marriage than whites. But the latest survey found blacks divided more evenly on this issue than in the past, with 44 percent in favor and 39 percent opposed to allowing gay marriage. Among whites, 49 percent favored and 41 percent opposed same-sex marriage.
These survey results come even as Maine, Maryland and Washington State legalized gay marriage through ballot measures on Election Day. Additionally, voters in Minnesota, which prohibits same-sex marriage, rejected a measure to add the prohibition to the state's constitution.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation's oldest African-American civil rights group, voted in May to support a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage at its board meeting in Miami, Fla. "The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people," Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the Board of Directors of the NAACP, said in a statement. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."
Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, said in a statement, "Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people. The well-funded right wing organizations who are attempting to split our communities are no friend to civil rights, and they will not succeed."
Many from the black community remain against same-sex marriage. The Coalition of African-American Pastors has been vocal in their opposition to President Obama's support for gay marriage and a group of well-known African Americans, including Dr. Alveda King, launched the "God Said" campaign this year in support of the biblical definition of marriage, between one man and one woman.
The Rev. William Owens, Jr., head of the "Mandate for Marriage" initiative and son of the Rev. William Owens, Sr., the founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), had recently stressed the importance of the issue in the election.
"It's only going to increase because the very core of America is founded upon Judeo-Christian beliefs. That's debatable to some people but you can't do away with history," Owens, Jr. told The Christian Post earlier. "When you begin to take on those core values you begin to take on what's the core for America. So when more and more begin to realize what is getting ready to happen, it's going to have to become an issue if we want to save our country."
He added that the time had come for a broad-based assault against the powers that want to change America's culture to one of men marrying men and women marrying women.