Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Obama's decision on DOMA not alienating the black community

There is a religious right meme going around that the Obama Administration's decision not to defend DOMA in the courts has alienated him from the African-American community.

Well the Washington Post did something "amazing" and "absolutely astounding" to see if this theory as accurate.

It actually talked to African-Americans and created a story from what it found.

And the results are just as many black folks knew - it doesn't make that much of difference:

Some say the decision is dismaying, though not damning. Others may be rethinking their views, given the influence Obama has in the African American community. And there are those who don't seem to care much at all.

"I don't think that this is a deal breaker in terms of whether we are going to support the president . . . but it doesn't help," said Cheryl Sanders, pastor of a small church in Washington, D.C.t, who described herself as fairly conservative theologically.

She is among the 68 per cent of churchgoing African Americans who oppose same-sex marriage and among the 90 per cent who support Obama.

As a question on its own, churchgoing African Americans are against same-sex marriage. But when the issue is wrapped up into a larger political context, it becomes just one of many and generally not the deciding one, said the Rev. Al Sharpton, an Obama ally.

"I remember in 2003 when I said I was for gay marriage. I got a lot outrage from my fellow ministers," Sharpton said. "I've been on my radio show and on conference calls with other pastors, and I haven't heard any outrage on this position."

The only person in the article who voiced an outright rejection of Obama was Anthony Evans of the the National Black Church Initiative,. I never even heard of this group.

But I especially liked this part:

Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, which advocates for gay rights, praised Obama's decision, saying it makes clear "there is not just one moral authority in the black community."

Rev. Joseph Lowery, the civil rights leader who prayed at Obama's inauguration, has long supported civil unions and predicted black churchgoers will continue to support Obama even if he backs same-sex unions.

"The president has overwhelming support from the black church because people are looking at the bigger picture," Lowery said. "He will not be hurt by one issue."

Isn't it amazing what happens when folks actually talk to black folks about our likes and dislikes rather than trying to predict them?

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Mike Huckabee continues his war on same-sex families and other Tuesday midday news briefs

Huckabee: Icky things happen in the bedrooms of same-sex couples - Geez, what is Mike Huckabee's problem? Again he reduces the quality of lgbt families through his fevered homophobic imagination.

What's with African American opposition to gay marriage in Maryland? - A great divide which needs to be delved into further. One of the groups mostly affected by pro-gay marriage legislation are lesbians of color raising children.

The Family Research Council's deceptive use of social science to defend DOMA

With news coming out of Washington  from Speaker of the House John Boehner that Congress may take up the defense of DOMA and recent comments from the Family Research Council stating that they are in talks in helping with that possible defense, one has to ask will the propaganda and anti-gay points in yesterday's post and today's post be a part of that strategy.

On its Defend DOMA web page, the Family Research Council has another link, Ten Arguments From Social Science Against Same Sex Marriage which supposedly speaks against gay marriage. While this piece isn't as guttural as Q&A What's Wrong With Letting Same-Sex Couples Marry?, there still remains a number of misdirections.

In the piece, Family Research Council is basing the argument against gay marriage on the claim that "children need both a mother and a father."

FRC makes the claim that lesbians household "raising children without a father" is wrong because according to them:

Among other things, we know that fathers excel in reducing antisocial behavior and delinquency in boys and sexual activity in girls.

And gay households "raising children without a mother" is wrong because:

fathers exercise a unique social and biological influence on their children. For instance, a recent study of father absence on girls found that girls who grew up apart from their biological father were much more likely to experience early puberty and a teen pregnancy than girls who spent their entire childhood in an intact family.

However, very little (if any at all) of the literature/studies FRC cites to make these conclusions have anything to do with same-sex households.

When the organization does address the studies involving same-sex households, it throws out an insulting addendum:

A number of leading professional associations have asserted that there are "no differences" between children raised by homosexuals and those raised by heterosexuals. But the research in this area is quite preliminary; most of the studies are done by advocates and most suffer from serious methodological problems. Sociologist Steven Nock of the University of Virginia, who is agnostic on the issue of same-sex civil marriage, offered this review of the literature on gay parenting as an expert witness for a Canadian court considering legalization of same-sex civil marriage:

Through this analysis I draw my conclusions that 1) all of the articles I reviewed contained at least one fatal flaw of design or execution; and 2) not a single one of those studies was conducted according to general accepted standards of scientific research.

This is not exactly the kind of social scientific evidence you would want to launch a major family experiment.

There is a huge problem with FRC citing Nock's testimony. He gave it in 2001. Since that time, there have been numerous other studies , as well as personal stories from children in same-sex households which back up the conclusion that same-sex households are a perfectly fine place to raise children.

Also, Nock's testimony was rejected by other researchers. (*see below)