.- A new survey of African Americans shows that most disagree with the claim that the effort to promote gay rights is comparable to the historic movement for racial equality.
About 55 percent of respondents to a Zogby Analytics survey said that equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons are not the same as equal rights for African Americans. Only 28 percent agreed, while 17 percent 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 L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, and was conducted Feb. 14 through Feb. 20.
The analysis – which claims a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent – also shows an apparent increase of support for “gay marriage” among a group historically opposed to redefining marriage.
About 42 percent said marriage should be “restricted to between a man and a woman” while 40 percent said same-sex couples should be “allowed to marry with benefits.”
Close to 34 percent 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 percent said they have no opinion.
The analysis comes as oral arguments began last week for Hollingsworth v. Perry, one of two gay 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 held March 26 in Washington, D.C., 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 analogies 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.
“I am marching again, and this time I’m marching to defend marriage,” Owens said.