There are many reasons to be glad that President Obama has finally decided to stop dissimulating and openly advocate gay marriage. Not least among them is that he is no longer giving tacit approval to a prejudice in the African-American community that becomes more awkward and regrettable by the year.
Homophobia, to be sure, is a sadly universal phenomenon. But it is one with especially deep roots among blacks. Polling numbers bear this out. In a recent Pew poll, 65 percent of American blacks reported thinking of homosexuality as wrong, while only 48 percent of whites did; in other words, most blacks harbored this prejudice, while fewer than half of whites did. Also, black voters played a disproportionate role in getting the anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8 passed in California in 2008.
The central role of Christianity in black America has much to do with this. It explains why views like these are not uncommon even among black people whom you might least suspect.