As Democrats Meet, Same-Sex Unions Remain Controversial

Despite opposition from some Black clergy, Democratic support of same-sex marriage will not eclipse other issues for voters, party leaders insist.

Posted: 09/02/2012 10:03 PM EDT
As Democrats Meet, Same-Sex Unions Remain Controversial

As Democrats convene in Charlotte, North Carolina, for their convention, there will be great solidarity behind the re-nomination of President Obama. But there also is likely to be continued controversy this week over the party’s platform, specifically its support of same-sex unions.

Among the most vocal critics of the inclusion of that plank in the platform have been African-American ministers, many of whom have been harsh in their condemnation of the Party's position. One of the most outspoken pastors has been Rev. William Owens, who is president and founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors and the leader of a national campaign denouncing same-sex marriage.

“The time has come for a broad-based assault against the powers that be that want to change our culture to one of men marrying men and women marrying women,” Owens said, after launching his initiative, "An Effort to Save the Family." “I am ashamed that the first Black president chose this road, a disgraceful road.”

On the other hand, some Democratic leaders point out that the same-sex marriage is just one of many issues confronting voters in an election that is taking place during turbulent economic times. They contend that voters will be far more motivated to vote Democratic because of the party’s positions on health care, education and employment.

“Marriage equality is just one of many important issues this year,” said Keith L.T. Wright, a New York assemblyman who is the chairman of the Manhattan Democrats, in an interview with BET.com.

“On the other hand, marriage equality is a concept that is sweeping the nation,” Wright said. “If nothing else, it shows how we in the Democratic Party allow for a variety of opinions to be heard. You don’t really see that diversity of opinion in the Republican Party.”

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(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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