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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Will Pres. Obama’s Support Of Gay Marriage Hurt Him With Black Voters?

President Barack Obama became the first U.S. President to announce his support for gay marriage in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America. (AP)

President Barack Obama became the first U.S. President to announce his support for gay marriage in an interview with Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America. (AP)

President Obama’s newly-announced support for gay marriage is politically risky, especially among the African American community where polls show a majority of voters oppose gay marriage.

North Carolina voters this week approved a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In the referendum, African Americans voted  2-to-1 against gay marriage.

Toure, the African American author and cultural commentator, argues that the President’s support of gay marriage could hurt him at the polls.

He wrote on Time magazine’s website:

This step could endanger him in the South and in heavily religious states and with black Americans. Supporting marriage equality could damage his chance for re-election as much as any other issue. It’s one that strikes deep into how people feel about the core values of their nation and their Bible.

Dr. Boyce Watkins, founder of Your Black World Coalition, has a different take on the issue. He says he doesn’t personally oppose same-sex marriage, but he thinks the way it played out is a good lesson for the Black community.

Watkins writes:

It shows us that only squeaky wheels get oiled, and that support for any politician must be conditional on the politician responding to the needs of that particular constituency.  By being as quiet as church mice, Black America will always end up at the back of the bus, even when our president looks just like us.

Guest:

  • Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University professor founder of the Your Black World Coalition

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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