Will Blacks Support National Push for Same-Sex Marriage?

Gay rights advocates are looking to invigorate African-American support.

Posted: 11/03/2011 04:40 PM EDT
Julian Bond, Human Rights Campaign, gay marriage

Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond (Photo: Courtesy Human Rights Campaign)

In an effort to shore up Black support for the nationwide marriage equality movement, the gay rights advocacy group, Human Rights Campaign, has enlisted the voices of several Black figures to spread their message that all Americans deserve the right to marry.


The group’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign regularly enlists the help of prominent Americans but, recently, the campaign has added the voices of famous African-Americans to its growing list of supporters. The videos feature short statements from NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Oscar-winning actress Mo'Nique -— messages that the group hopes will resonate with African-Americans, whose support for same-sex marriage is lagging behind the national average in some regions of the country.


“Gay and lesbian couples have the same values as everyone else ... they should have the same right to marry as the rest of us,” Bond said in the clip.


HRC has also extended its African-American outreach to the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The group recently held a leadership and career summit for students at HBCUs in an attempt to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who, they say, face unique challenges as students.


"It takes a lot of courage to stand up on an HBCU campus and be proud of who you are," said HRC Associate Director of Diversity Donna Payne. “That is why we support training this generation to be effective leaders that will change the course of what it means to be African-American and LGBT.”


The group launched the HBCU program in 2000 after a rash of anti-LGBT violence struck HBCU campuses across the country.


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