"Black Churchgoers Break with Leading Democrats on Marriage Amendment"


The Charlotte Observer:

Bishop Phillip Davis had not planned to talk about marriage and politics, but five minutes into his sermon at Nations Ford Community Church in Charlotte he changed his mind.

Not only should the 6,000 members of the overwhelmingly African-American congregation pray with one voice, he said, come May 8 they should vote with one, too.

... Thirty-one states – in 31 tries – have approved amendments to block gay unions. Based on the polls, North Carolina is a good bet to extend the streak May 8, due in part to African-American congregations like Nations Ford.

A March 23 survey by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh showed that black voters statewide support the measure 61 percent to 30 percent. Whites: 58-38 percent in favor.

More than 80 percent of the state’s African-Americans voters are Democrats. Their support for the amendment represents a rare break with the party’s leaders and civil rights groups.

President Barack Obama, who in 2008 received more than 90 percent of the North Carolina black vote, took the unusual step this year of wading into the amendment debate, calling it discriminatory.

Gov. Bev Perdue, all three major Democratic candidates for governor and many other party leaders have also spoken out against it.

The state NAACP has led the fight to defeat the amendment, which would make traditional marriage the only legal union in the state.

... As such, the marriage amendment has hammered a wedge between two enduring traits of African-American believers – a tradition of political and social activism, and a streak of moral conservatism, especially when it comes to gays and lesbians.