Gay Marriage Won't Stop Black Voters

Gay Marriage Won't Stop Black Voters

Why pundits should stop pretending that marriage equality will affect President Obama's African-American turnout.

Published September 27, 2012

(The Root) -- As soon as ABC aired President Obama's May sit-down with Robin Roberts in which he gave his personal endorsement to same-sex marriage, the concern-trolling startedWill this stance hurt him with black voters, who are crucial to his re-election success? Black folks, so the conventional wisdom goes, are conservative on this issue and might stay home rather than re-up with Obama.

North Carolinians voted to ban gay marriage just a few days before the president's statement, and a lot of hay was made over the fact that black voters supposedly voted 2-to-1 for the banSee! This could be a serious electoral problem for Obama among his base! (Roberts herself even said to the president that this was "a difficult conversation to have" in the black community.)

And so it went. Last week The Root'Keli Goff posed the question to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the head of the Congressional Black Caucus. Then the Associated Press spoke to a bunch of black pastors who said it was possible that black Christians might sit out this election. Just Monday, NPR chatted with the Rev. Derek McCoy, a Maryland pastor who runs a group opposed to same-sex marriage and is trying to defeat a ballot initiative there that would legalize it. McCoy said that he has heard pastors call for people to sit out this November.

But this hypothetical voter sit-out is not a real thing.

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(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Written by Gene Demby


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