Maryland and Beyond: What This Election Means for Black LGBT Love and Families
Family is the epicenter of Black life, community and culture. For Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, its importance is just as great. Studies show that in comparison to their White counterparts, Black gay and lesbian couples are more likely to be raising children. Without the legal protections that marriage provides, these families are some of our nation’s most vulnerable.
Understanding the significance of relationship recognition, President Barack Obama affirmed his support of marriage for loving and committed same-sex couples on May 9, 2012. The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading Black LGBT civil rights organization, applauded the President for this historic endorsement of the freedom to marry. Here was President Obama, the nation’s first Black president, taking a position that no sitting president in history has had the courage to ever take.
His re-election is critical to the future of our movement, marriage equality and our families. President Obama has consistently made historic strides in support of freedom and fairness, and will undoubtedly continue to do so during his second term. His moral leadership serves as a compass for the rest of our country as more and more Americans continue to realize that LGBT people deserve the same protections that are so fundamental to our nation’s values.
Minority communities are even more supportive of the freedom to marry: 55 percent of Latinos favor marriage equality, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in March 2012. So do 59 percent of African Americans, according to a May 2012 poll by The Washington Post/ABC, reflecting an increase of support after President Obama’s gay marriage affirmation in May.
His courageous example showed that it was okay to have these conversations at the dinner table (as he did with the First Lady and their daughters), in our churches, and in our communities. It was okay to evolve as well as.
Without a doubt, President Obama’s personal journey to support the freedom to marry resonated with millions of Americans. His statements on the state ballot campaigns this year and his Administration’s acknowledgement of the unconstitutionality of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” set a crucial framework for our recent marriage battles in Maine, Minnesota, Washington and Maryland.
As a proud supporter of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality campaign, NBJC worked actively to win the freedom to marry in the Free State. We witnessed first-hand how the President’s evolution and actions have influenced Black voters.