Will President Obama Lose Black Voters Over Same Sex Marriage?
Much of the fallout over President Barack Obama‘s public statement of support for same-sex marriage has centered around the political and electoral calculus of such a decision. Conventional wisdom says that the African-American community is largely united in its opposition to gay marriage, creating a big problem for the president, as this community went for him by 98% in 2008. But like a lot of wisdom, it’s turning out to be not so conventional.
The Root reports that black voters (like most voters) are still much more concerned about the economy in the upcoming election, and that they can reconcile support for Obama with his stance on marriage equality. Writer Cynthia Gordy points out that 58% of black voters in California voted for Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in 2008, while at the same time 90% voted for Obama, who had publicly opposed the measure. Gordy also highlights the fact that North Carolina’s Amendment 1 passed with only 34% of eligible voters participating, suggesting that the issue does not mobilize voters as we might think.
Gordy also notes that the African-American community is far from monolithic in its voting, and is evolving on the issue of gay rights:
On that note, African-American opposition to gay marriage is rapidly falling — as it is among all Americans. According to a new Pew Research Center report, since 2008 black opposition to gay marriage has dropped from 63 percent to 49 percent, and African Americans in favor of gay marriage have increased from 26 percent to 39 percent. Last month a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll showed that 50 percent of African Americans support gay marriage, up from 32 percent in 2009.
What do you think? Will this ultimately be a non-issue for black voters?