Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Realignments on Gay Marriage

The NAACP recently endorsed gay marriage, which is going to play an interesting role in American cultural politics. Obama's recent announcement of his stance on the topic seemed to get some pushback from black religious democrats, who are part of an interesting slice of American society; in a past political realignment, southern democrats left the party en masse over states rights and social conservativism, paving the way for the Democrats to align with an earlier version of what we know as liberalism. Strongly-religious black communities have an odd place in our politics; they include varieties of social conservativism that would more naturally fit into Republican party were it not for racial and occasionally economic issues (being urban in character).

Conservative black churches normally vote democrat, but they came out in larger numbers to vote for Obama (normal feelings of being disenfranchised by the current system are hard to sustain given a Black presidential candidate); there's been a concern about how Obama's stance would affect them (and many have spoken very harshly about it; they may generally be willing to vote for him anyway, but they probably won't be donating/volunteering as big to get the swing voters and some churches have broken entirely with him over the matter.

What does the NAACP's stance mean? As a very powerful lobby, symbolic of part of the struggle for racial equality and a voice for those who feel disenfranchised over being black, their new stance on gay marriage lightly validates the comparison between anti-miscegenation laws and anti-gay-marriage laws (which, as I mentioned on Twitter, is a line of argument I've used for years because it is very effective). Second, those black churches will be faced with a slap in the face and an interesting choice, in that they either must adopt a complicated relationship with the NAACP or evolve their stances.

The dialogue will be interesting, and it will probably be taking places in black churches across the nation. Homophobia in various black cultures is broader than those that are conservative; the difficulties between hispanic subcultures and black subcultures in the United States in many urban areas have made clear that minorities are not always friendly to each other; hopefully we'll see shifts on that.

What I hope for and expect is tolerance and a commitment to reasonable coexistence. I don't expect all sects of curiosity to *ever* come to terms with homosexuality on the deepest level, any more than I would expect them to come to terms with Islam, or Atheism. Their stances are part of what defines them, and a philosophy/morality that cannot judge or take hard stances of whatever kind that people might disapprove of is pretty worthless (even as I think it's unfortunate that the Abrahamic faiths took these stances in their definitive works). People of these faiths generally don't try to wipe each other out with violence or harass each other, at least not in the United States in modern times. I would feel most comfortable pushing people to the point where they accept the legality of gay marriage, where people will never be bullied for being gay/bi/nonheteronormative/"trans"/poly/kinky, and where its okayness is handled like being part of another faith; possibly strong debate if the topic comes up but nothing more fierce than competition on the plane of ideas. I think that's something most people should be able to deal with.


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