President Obama’s New Role in the Fight Against Black Homophobia

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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.

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