May 25, 2004

Denied & Deferred

Keith Boykin (president of the National Black Justice Coalition) has a nice, to-the-point essay in the Village Voice:

Whose Dream? by Keith Boykin

In my lifetime, African Americans were denied the right to marry white people, and now we who are black dare to deny matrimonial rights to gay people—people like me. In a recent poll, 65 percent of blacks opposed same-sex marriage, although other surveys have shown strong support for laws banning discrimination against gays. What offends most black people is the comparison between the gay-marriage struggle and the black struggle for civil rights.

In the past six months, dozens of black ministers across the country have spoken out against same-sex marriage. And despite the common liberal portrayal of these clergy as stooges of the white religious right, some of the ministers, like Jackson and Reverend Walter Fauntroy, who once represented Washington, D.C., in Congress, have long records fighting for progressive causes. Has the black church succumbed to the machinations of the white religious right? "I'm sure they're being co-opted, but they don't need a great deal of co-optation," says Reverend Peter Gomes, a black Baptist minister. "I think they come to the prejudice on their own."

Gomes attributes the black social conservatism to racial assimilation. "The African American religious community has spent so much time trying to prove to the white community that it is the same, that for all intents and purposes it shares many of the worst prejudices of the white community."

Now that I have my DSL back up — fingers crossed!! — I hope to update as often as possible on the Coalition's campaign for marriage and social equality.

Posted by ronn at May 25, 2004 08:09 PM