WASHINGTON — A new survey of black Americans shows that most disagree with the claim that the effort to promote homosexual rights is comparable to the historic movement for racial equality.
About 55% of respondents to a Zogby Analytics survey said that equal rights for "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered" persons are not the same as equal rights for African-Americans. Only 28% agreed, while 17% said they are not sure.
The online survey of 1,002 adults used respondents recruited through partners or random telephone samples. It was commissioned by Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, and was conducted Feb. 14-20.
The analysis — which claims a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2% — also shows an apparent increase of support for “gay marriage” among a group historically opposed to redefining marriage.
About 42% said marriage should be “restricted to between a man and a woman,” while 40% said same-sex couples should be “allowed to marry with benefits.”
Close to 34% said that ministers who oppose homosexuality, “including the rights of gays and lesbians to marry” are right. Thirty-one percent said they are wrong, while 35% said they have no opinion.
The analysis comes as oral arguments began last week for Hollingsworth v. Perry, one of two same-sex “marriage” cases being heard this term by the U.S. Supreme Court. This case challenges California’s Proposition 8, a state measure recognizing marriage as existing solely between a man and a woman.
The other case, for which arguments began on March 27, challenges the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Decisions in both cases are expected in late June.
At the national March for Marriage, which was held March 26 in Washington, speakers told the crowds that marriage is fundamentally about preserving an institutional link between parents for the sake of their children.
During his remarks, Rev. Bill Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, refuted the idea that same-sex “marriage” is an issue of civil rights.
Owens, who marched in the civil-rights movement, criticized the analogy of same-sex “marriage” to the push for racial equality. Efforts to preserve the definition of marriage as it always has been are not comparable to “what we suffered,” he said.
Owens said, “I am marching again, and this time I’m marching to defend marriage.”