Following the defeat of the same-sex marriage bill in the Illinois House last Friday, critics claim the African American Clergy Coalition should be thanking the 64 white legislators who stood up for traditional marriage.
"After the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act was not called for a vote in the state House of Representatives, the African American Clergy Coalition gave the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus all the credit for killing it," wrote Edward McClelland, the author of Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President, in his NBC-Chicago Ward Room column on Monday.
"That's wrong," he contends. "Also wrong are gay marriage advocates who blamed the defeat on black legislators knuckling under the pressure from conservative clergymen in their districts. Because if you look at who was in favor of the bill, and who was opposed, African-Americans would have cast a higher percentage of 'yes' votes than whites. Eleven of the 20 black House members were prepared to vote yes, four were committed to vote no, and five were undecided."
Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago, Ill., who is co-chairman of the AACC told The Christian Post on Tuesday he "agrees that white legislators who defended traditional marriage should be acknowledged as well." He then explained that highlighting the efforts of the black community is significant for two reasons: first, because black church members firmly believe in the Word of God; and second, there is a historical relationship between politicians and black churches.
"Politicians get their endorsement from the church, to be sanctioned by the church, and they come to the church for a blessing," Trotter said. "But a lot of the time, they never come back to the church after they are elected. Now members were calling them back, because in the days leading up to the vote, it was the black caucus vote in the House that was needed."
Trotter told the CP that the partnership between the AACC, the Archdiocese of Chicago and traditional marriage groups will be ongoing, as they continue to conference together to forge ahead in defense of their biblically-held beliefs. The legislature will convene in the fall for a veto session and then again in January 2014. Trotter doesn't believe there will be enough votes in the House for the same-sex marriage bill to pass next year.
He added that he's "happy that Illinois won't be the 13th state to support same-sex marriage."
In his analysis of the bill's failure in the House, McClelland added that among the "92 white House members, all but two of the 47 Republicans oppose the bill. That's 45 no votes." He added that 19 Democrats were also either opposed to the same-sex marriage bill, or hadn't publicly stated their support for it. "That means only 28 of the 92 white House members were solid 'yes' votes. That's a 30 percent support level, barely more than half of the 55 percent the bill would have received from the black caucus."