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Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black?

I know sending this article to this website could be hazardous considering the infamous, historical, and rampant anti-blackness of the white left, but I thought that yall would like to know.  attheseams@mutualaid.org
Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black?
By Kenyon Farrow

I was in Atlanta on business when I saw the Sunday, Feb. 29th edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that featured as its cover story the issue of gay marriage. Georgia is one of the states prepared to add some additional language to its state constitution that bans same sex marriages (though the state already defines marriage between a man and a woman, so the legislation is completely symbolic as it is political). What struck me about the front page story was the fact that all of the average Atlanta citizens whom were pictured that opposed gay marriages were black people. This is not to single out the Atlanta Journal Constitution, as I have noticed in all of the recent coverage and hubbub over gay marriage that the media has been real crucial in playing up the racial politics of the debate. For example, the people who are in San Francisco getting married are almost exclusively white whereas many of the people who are shown opposing it are black. And it is more black people than typically shown in the evening news (not in handcuffs). This leaves me with several questions: Is gay marriage a black/white issue? Are the Gay Community and the Black Community natural allies or sworn enemies? And where does that leave me, a black gay man, who does not want to get married?

Same-sex Marriage and Race Politics

My sister really believes that this push for gay marriage is actually not being controlled by gays & lesbians. She believes it is actually being tested in various states by the Far Right in disguise, in an effort to cause major fractures in the Democratic Party to distract from all the possible roadblocks to re-election for George W. in November such as an unpopular war and occupation, the continued loss of jobs, and growing revelations of the Bush administration's ties to corporate scandals.

Whatever the case, it is important to remember that gay marriage rights are fraught with racial politics, and that there is no question that the public opposition to same-sex marriages is in large part being financially backed by various right-wing Christian groups like the Christian Coalition and Family Research Council. Both groups have histories and overlapping staff ties to white supremacist groups and solidly oppose affirmative action but play up some sort of Christian allegiance to the black Community when the gay marriage issue is involved. For example, in 1990's the Traditional Values Coalition produced a short documentary called "Gay Rights, Special Rights, which was targeted at black churches to paint non-heterosexual people as only white and upper class, and as sexual pariahs, while painting black people as pure, chaste, and morally superior. The video juxtaposed images of white gay men for the leather/S&M community with the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, leaving conservative black viewers with the fear that the Civil Rights Movement was being taken over by morally debased human beings. And since black people continue to be represented as hyper sexual beings and sexual predators in both pop culture and the mass media (pimps & players, hoochies & hos, rapists of white women & tempters of white men), conservative black people often cling to the other image white America hoists onto black people as well ­ asexual and morally superior (as seen in the role of the black talk show host and the role of the black sage/savior-of-white people used in so many Hollywood movies, like In America and The Green Mile, which are all traceable to Mammy and Uncle Remus-type caricatures).

Since the Christian Right has money and access to corporate media, they set the racial/sexual paradigm that much of America gets in this debate, which is that homos are rich and white and do not need any such special protections and that black people are black ­ a homogeneous group who, in this case, are Christian, asexual (or hetero-normative), morally superior, and have the right type of "family values." This, even though black families are consistently painted as dysfunctional and are treated as such in the mass media and in public policy, which has devastating effects on black self-esteem, and urban and rural black communities' ability to be self-supporting, self-sustaining, and self determining. The lack of control over economic resources, high un/underemployment, lack of adequate funding for targeted effective HIV prevention and treatment, and the large numbers of black people in prison (nearly one million of the 2.2 million U.S. prison population) are all ways that black families (which include non-heterosexuals) are undermined by public policies often fueled by right wing "tough on crime" and "war on drugs" rhetoric.

Given all of these social problems that largely plague the black community (and thinking about my sister's theory), one has to wonder why this issue would rise to the surface in an election year, just when the Democratic ticket is unifying. And it is an issue, according to the polls anyway, that could potentially strip the Democratic Party of it solid support from African-American communities. And even though several old-guard civil rights leaders (including Coretta Scott King, John Lewis, Revs. Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson) have long supported equal protection under the law for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community (which usually, but not always means support of same-sex marriage), the right wing continues to pit gay marriage (and by extension, gay civil rights) against black political interests, by relying on conservative black people to publicly speak out against it (and a lot has been written about how several black ministers received monies from right-wing organizations to speak out against same-sex marriages in their pulpits). But many black leaders, including some I've been able to catch on television recently despite the right-wing's spin on the matter, have made the argument that they know too well the dangers that lie in "separate but equal" rhetoric. So, if many of our black leaders vocally support same-sex marriage, how has the Christian Right been able to create such a wedge between the black community and the gay community?

Homophobia in Black Popular Culture

Some of the ways that the Christian Right-wing has been so successful in using same-sex marriage as a wedge issue is by both exploiting homophobia in the black community and also racism in the gay community. In regards to homophobia in the black community the focus of conversation has been about the Black Churches' stance on homosexuality. It has been said many times that while many black churches remain somewhat hostile places for non-heterosexual parishioners, it is also where you will in fact find many black gays and lesbians. Many of them are in positions of power and leadership within the church ­ ushers, choir members/directors, musicians, and even preachers themselves. But let me debunk the myth that the Black Church is the black community. The black community is in no way monolithic, nor are black Christians. The vast majority of black people who identify as "Christian" do not attend any church whatsoever. Many black Americans have been Muslim for over a century and there are larger numbers of black people who are proudly identifying as Yoruba, Santero/a, and atheists as well. The black community in America is also growing more ethnically diverse, with a larger, more visible presence of Africans, West Indians, and Afro-Latinos amongst our ranks. We have always been politically diverse, with conservatives, liberals, radicals and revolutionaries alike (and politics do not necessarily align with what religion you may identify as your own). It is also true that we are and have always been sexually diverse and multi-gendered. Many of our well-known Black History Month favorites were in fact Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, or Transgender.

Despite our internal diversity, we are at a time (for the last 30 years) when black people are portrayed in the mass media—mostly through hip-hop culture—as being hyper-sexual and hyper-heterosexual to be specific.

Nowhere is the performance of black masculinity more prevalent than in hip-hop culture, which is where the most palpable form of homophobia in American culture currently resides. This of course is due largely to the white record industry's notions of who we are, which they also sell to non-black people. Remember pop culture has for the last 150 years been presenting blackness to the world ­ initially as white performers in blackface, to black performers in black face, and currently to white, black and other racial groups performing blackness as something that connotes sexual potency and a propensity for violent behavior, which are also performed as heterosexuality.

And with the music video, performance is important (if not more) than song content. As black hip-hop artists perform gangsta and Black Nationalist revolutionary forms of masculinity alike, so follows overt homophobia and hostility to queer people, gay men in particular. Recently, DMX's video and song "Where the Hood At?" contained some of the most blatant and hateful homophobic lyrics and images I have seen in about a decade. The song suggests that the "faggot" can and will never be part of the "hood" for he is not a man. The song and video are particularly targeted at black men who are not out of the closet, and considered on the "down low." Although challenged by DMX, the image of the "down low" brother is another form of performance of black masculinity, regardless of actual sexual preference.

But it's not just "commercial" rap artists being homophobic. "Conscious" hip­hop artists such as Common, Dead Prez and Mos Def have also promoted homophobia through their lyrics, mostly around notions of "strong black families," and since gay black men (in theory) do not have children, we are somehow anti-family and antithetical to what a "strong black man" should be. Lesbians (who are not interested in performing sex acts for the pleasure of men voyeurs) are also seen as anti-family, and not a part of the black community. A woman "not wanting dick" in a nation where black dick is the only tangible power symbol for black men is seen as just plain crazy, which is also expressed in many hip-hop tunes. None of these artists interrogate their representations of masculinity in their music, but merely perform them for street credibility. And for white market consumption.

It cannot be taken lightly that white men are in control of the record industry as a whole (even with a few black entrepreneurs), and control what images get played. Young white suburban males are the largest consumer of hip-hop music. So performance of black masculinity (or black sexuality as a whole) is created by white men for white men. And since white men have always portrayed black men as sexually dangerous and black women as always sexually available (and sexual violence against black women is rarely taken seriously), simplistic representations of black sexuality as hyper-heterosexual are important to maintaining white supremacy and patriarchy, and control of black bodies. Black people are merely the unfortunate middlemen in an exchange between white men. We consume the representations like the rest of America. And the more that black people are willing to accept these representations as fact rather than racist fiction, the more heightened homophobia in our communities tends to be.

Race and the Gay Community

While homophobia in the black community is certainly an issue we need to address, blacks of all sexualities experience the reality that many white gays and lesbians think that because they're gay, they "understand" oppression, and therefore could not be racist like their heterosexual counterparts. Bullshit. America is first built on the privilege of whiteness, and as long as you have white skin, you have a level of agency and access above and beyond people of color, period. White women and white non-heteros included. There is a white gay man named Charles Knipp who roams this nation performing drag in blackface to sold-out houses, north and south alike. Just this past Valentine's day weekend, he performed at the Slide Bar in NY's east village to a packed house of white queer folks eager to see him perform "Shirley Q Liquor," a welfare mother with 19 kids. And haven't all of the popular culture gay images on TV shows like Will & Grace, Queer as Folk, etc., been exclusively white? No matter how many black divas wail over club beats in white gay clubs all over America (Mammy goes disco!) with gay men appropriating language and other black cultural norms (specifically from black women), white gay men continue to function as cultural imperialists the same way straight white boys appropriate hip-hop (and let's not ignore that white women have been in on the act, largely a result of Madonna bringing white women into the game.).

There have always been racial tensions in the gay community as long as there have been racial tensions in America, but in the 1990's, the white gay community went mainstream, further pushing non-hetero people of color from the movement.

The reason for this schism is that in order to be mainstream in America, one has to be seen as white. And since white is normative, one has to interrogate what other labels or institutions are seen as normative in our society: family, marriage, and military service, to name a few. It is then no surprise that a movement that goes for "normality" would then end up in a battle over a dubious institution like marriage (and hetero-normative family structures by extension). And debates over "family values," no matter how broad or narrow you look at them, always have whiteness at the center, and are almost always anti-black. As articulated by Robin D.G. Kelley in his book Yo Mama's Dysfunktional, the infamous Moynihan report is the most egregious of examples of how the black family structure has been portrayed as dysfunctional, an image that still has influence on the way in which black families are discussed in the media and controlled by law enforcement and public policy. Since black families are in fact presented and treated as dysfunctional, this explains the large numbers of black children in the hands of the state through foster care, and increasingly, prisons (so-called "youth detention centers"). In many cases, trans-racial adoptions are the result. Many white same-sex unions take advantage of the state's treatment of black families; after all, white queer couples are known for adopting black children since they are so "readily" available and also not considered as attractive or healthy compared to white, Asian and Latino/a kids. If black families were not labeled as dysfunctional or de-stabilized by prison expansion and welfare "reform," our children would not be removed from their homes at the numbers they are, and there would be no need for adoption or foster care in the first place. So the fact that the white gay community continues to use white images of same-sex families is no accident, since the black family, heterosexual, same sex or otherwise, is always portrayed as dysfunctional.

I also think the white gay community's supposed "understanding" of racism is what has caused them to appropriate language and ideology of the Black Civil Rights Movement, which has led to the bitter divide between the two communities. This is where I as a black gay man, am forced to intervene in a debate that I find problematic on all sides.

Black Community and Gay Community ­ Natural Allies or Sworn Enemies?
As the gay community moved more to the right in the 1990's, they also began to talk about Gay Rights as Civil Rights. Even today in this gay marriage debate, I have heard countless well-groomed, well-fed white gays and lesbians on TV referring to themselves as "second-class citizens." Jason West, the white mayor of New Paltz, NY, who started marrying gay couples was quoted as saying, "The same people who don't want to see gays and lesbians get married are the same people who would have made Rosa Parks go to the back of the bus." It's these comparisons that piss black people off. While the anger of black heteros is sometimes expressed in ways that are in fact homophobic, the truth of the matter is that black folks are tired of seeing other people hijack their shit for their own gains, and getting nothing in return. Black non-heteros share this anger of having our blackness and black political rhetoric and struggle stolen for other people's gains. The hijacking of Rosa Parks for their campaigns clearly ignores the fact that white gays and lesbians who lived in Montgomery, AL and elsewhere probably gladly made many a black person go to the back of the bus. James Baldwin wrote in his long essay "No Name in the Street" about how he was felt up by a white sheriff in a small southern town when on a visit during the civil rights era.

These comparisons of "Gay Civil Rights" as equal to "Black Civil Rights" really began in the early 1990's, and largely responsible for this was Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and a few other mostly-white gay organizations. This push from HRC, without any visible black leadership or tangible support from black allies (straight and queer), to equate these movements did several things: 1) Piss off the black community for the white gay movement's cultural appropriation, and making the straight black community question non-hetero black people's allegiances, resulting in our further isolation. 2) Giving the (white) Christian Right ammunition to build relationships with black ministers to denounce gay rights from their pulpits based on the HRC's cultural appropriation. 3) Create a scenario in their effort to go mainstream that equates gay and lesbian with upper-class and white. This meant that the only visibility of non-hetero poor people and people of color wound up on Jerry Springer, where non-heteros who are poor and of color are encouraged (and paid) to act out, and are therefore only represented as dishonest, violent, and pathological.

So, given this difficult history and problematic working relationship of the black community and the gay community, how can the gay community now, at its most crucial hour, expect large scale support of same-sex marriage by the black community when there has been no real work done to build strategic allies with us? A new coalition has formed of black people, non-hetero and hetero, to promote same-sex marriage equality to the black community, and I assume to effectively bridge that disconnect, and to in effect, say that gay marriage ain't just a white thing. Or is it?

Is Gay Marriage Anti ­ Black?

I, as a black gay man, do not support this push for same-sex marriage. Although I don't claim to represent all black gay people, I do believe that the manner in which this campaign has been handled has put black people in the middle of essentially two white groups of people, who are trying to manipulate us one way or the other. The Christian right, which is in fact anti-black, has tried to create a false alliance between themselves and blacks through religion to push forward their homophobic, fascist agenda. The white gay civil rights groups are also anti-black, however they want black people to see this struggle for same-sex unions as tantamount to separate but equal Jim Crow laws. Yet any close examination reveals that histories of terror imposed upon generations of all black people in this country do not in any way compare to what appears to be the very last barrier between white gays and lesbians' access to what bell hooks describes as "christian capitalist patriarchy." That system is inherently anti-black, and no amount of civil rights will ever get black people any real liberation from it. For, in what is now a good 40 years of "civil rights," nothing has intrinsically changed or altered in the American power structure, and a few black faces in inherently racist institutions is hardly progress.

Given the current white hetero-normative constructions of family and how the institutions of marriage and nuclear families have been used against black people, I do think that to support same-sex marriage is in fact, anti-black (I also believe the institution of marriage to be historically anti-woman, and don't support it for those reasons as well). At this point I don't know if I am totally opposed to the institution of marriage altogether, but I do know that the campaign would have to happen on very different terms for me to support same-sex marriages. At this point, the white gay community is as much to blame as the Christian right for the way they have constructed the campaign, including who is represented, and their appropriation of black civil rights language.

Along with how the campaign is currently devised, I struggle with same-sex marriage because, given the level of homophobia in our society (specifically in the black community), and racism as well, I think that even if same-sex marriage becomes legal, white people will access that privilege far more than black people. This is especially the case with poor black people, who regardless of sexual preference or gender, are struggling with the most critical of needs (housing, food, gainful employment), which are not at all met by same-sex marriage. Some black people (men in particular) might not try to access same-sex marriage because they do not even identify as "gay" partly because of homophobia in the black community, but also because of the fact that racist white queer people continue to dominate the public discourse of what "gay" is, which does not include black people of the hip-hop generation by and large.

I do fully understand that non-heteros of all races and classes may cheer this effort for they want their love to be recognized, and may want to reap some of the practical benefits that a marriage entitlement would bring ­ health care (if one of you gets health care from your job in the first place) for your spouse, hospital visits without drama or scrutiny, and control over a deceased partner's estate. But, gay marriage, in and of itself, is not a move towards real, and systemic liberation. It does not address my most critical need as a black gay man to be able to walk down the streets of my community with my lover, spouse or trick, and not be subjected to ridicule, assault or even murder. Gay marriage does not adequately address homophobia or transphobia, for same-sex marriage still implies binary opposite thinking, and transgender folks are not at all addressed in this debate.

What does gay marriage mean for all Black people?

But what does that mean for black people? For black non-heteros, specifically? Am I supposed to get behind this effort, and convince heterosexual black people to do the same, especially when I know the racist manner in which this campaign has been carried out for over ten years? And especially when I know that the vast majority of issues that my community—The Black Community, of all orientations and genders—are not taken nearly this seriously when it comes to crucial life and death issues that we face daily like inadequate housing and health care, HIV/AIDS, police brutality, and the wholesale lockdown of an entire generation in America's grotesquely large prison system. How do those of us who are non-heterosexual and black use this as an opportunity to deal with homophobia, transphobia and misogyny in our communities, and heal those larger wounds of isolation, marginalization and fear that plague us regardless of marital status? It is the undoing of systems of domination and control that will lead to liberation for all of ourselves, and all of us as a whole.

In the end, I am down for black people who oppose gay marriage—other folks "in the life" as well as straight, feminists, Christians, Muslims, and the like. But I want more than just quotes from Leviticus or other religious and moral posturing. I want to engage in a meaningful critical conversation of what this means for all of us, which means that I must not be afraid to be me in our community, and you must not be afraid of me. I will struggle alongside you, but I must know that you will also have my back.

Kenyon Farrow © 2004
Homophobic 15.Mar.2004 14:16


I heard that more blacks are against gay marriage than whites. In fact rap lyrics are notorious for being very homophobic as well as misogynist.

Different Take 15.Mar.2004 14:20

SAA kid

BTW Keith Boykin writes for different stuff, the article i read of his from the crisis magazine was "Who Should Say "I Do"?Gauging whether where Blacks stand on gay marriage will influence who they support in the presidential election" but this article is pretty much the same basic stance. AKA members/groups/organizations of the black community are standing up for equal and civil rights for all people.
www.thecrisismagazine.com - there latest issue has the article
 http://www.keithboykin.com - he writes a lot on the issues of race and gender

Blacks Take On Marriage Issue
By Keith Boykin
March 12, 2004 02:02 PM
in politics

African American leaders in New York step into the battle on same-sex marriage this weekend with a dramatic press conference and rally on the steps of New York City Hall this Sunday.

Following weeks of media stories with very few images of blacks who support marriage equality, progressive leaders in the black community are now speaking out.

"In the recent debate and discussion about same-sex marriage, the vast majority of images have been of Caucasian gays and lesbians," said New York City Council Member Phil Reed, one of the organizers of the event. "The truth of the matter is that there are hundreds of thousands of African-American gays and lesbians, and many other groups, who are also supportive of same-sex marriage," he said.

The absence of black images in the media led the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change (AALUSC), Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) and Councilman Reed to hold the event.

"Sunday's rally will give our communities an opportunity to express their support for this civil rights issue," Reed said.

In addition to Reed, participants include New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, State Senate Democratic Leader David Patterson, City Council Members Tracy Boyland, Yvette Clark, Letitia James, Bill Perkins and Larry Seabrook, Unity Fellowship Church Pastor Zachary Jones, AALUSC Executive Director Kim Ford, GMAD Executive Director Tokes Osubu and NBJC President Keith Boykin.

"Same-sex marriage is not just a question of civil rights but is part of a deeper and more complex issue within our community," according to Kim Ford of AALUSC. "It is not just about protection. It is about valuing our families, our homes, and our loved ones. In our support for same-sex marriage, we remain sensitive to all of our expressions of family."

"We need to be seen and heard," added GMAD Executive Director Tokes Osubu, who pointed out that the needs of the black LGBT community may be slightly different from others. "Freedom of choice is everyone's constitutional right! It is the position of GMAD to support choice," he said.

Sunday's press conference marks the third event organized by the National Black Justice Coalition this week. The group held a town hall meeting on blacks and same-sex marriage on Tuesday in Los Angeles. The following day, the Coalition confronted ministers at a right-wing press conference held at the Massachusetts State Capitol in Boston.

The surge of activity comes as the California Supreme Court has halted same-sex marriages in San Francisco and the Massachusetts Legislature has given preliminary approval to change that state's constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying. The move also comes less than a month after President Bush endorsed a federal constitutional amendment to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

"The radical right wants to use marriage as a divisive wedge issue to split blacks against progressives in 2004," said Boykin. Citing support from NAACP chairman Julian Bond, Rev. Al Sharpton, former senator Carol Moseley Braun, author Michael Eric Dyson, Congressman John Lewis and others, Boykin said, "We want the world to know that many African Americans leaders do support marriage equality."

The press conference and rally will take place on Sunday, March 14, 2004 at 1 p.m. on the steps of New York City Hall.


thanks 15.Mar.2004 14:44


a thoughtful article, thanks for writing.
I also believe that marriage was/is an anti woman institution and I have difficulty understanding why gays are fighting so hard for it when the real issues are around equality, e.g. universal healthcare --- no one should be dependent on a partner or parent's employment to gain access - in fact emplyment should not be a factor at all; discrimination and prejudice of all types --- these issues are never settled by edict; adnm the right to name whoever you want to speak for you or be your advocate. I once spent excruciating hours alone in a hospital because I was unmarried and even my adult child was not allowed in!! .
It is easy of course for me to say this because I can and have married ( and divorced ) and others have not had the chance.
again thanks for your thoughts they enhance the debate.

the reasons behind the timing of the same-sex marriage issue 15.Mar.2004 15:16

republic of cascadia citizen

kenyon wrote: "My sister really believes that this push for gay marriage is actually not being controlled by gays & lesbians. She believes it is actually being tested in various states by the Far Right in disguise, in an effort to cause major fractures in the Democratic Party"

i can not speak to the timing of the same-sex marriage in other states, but i can say that from what i know [being a multnomah county employee and portland resident], that here in portland, oregon the above theory is completely false. basic rights oregon [a gay rights organization here in portland] was the group that initially approached the multnomah county commissioners [and basic rights oregon had been pushed by countless gay couples over the last couple years to push for same-sex marriage, so this push came from the bottom up, not any sort of far right think tank]. basic rights oregon demonstrated to the commissioners privately that from recent legal interpretation multnomah county would actually be violating the oregon constitution if it DID NOT issue marriage licenses to ALL couples regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and multnomah county could face legal action. the multnomah county commissioners examined the legal issues themselves and the county attorney came to the same conclusion, then it was just a matter of a week before the finding was made public and the licenses began to be issued.

and in regards to the issue of whether blacks support same-sex marriage, i think that there are plenty of people on both sides regardless of race. but here is a nice quote from james posey, mayoral candidate for portland [who happens to be black], in the willamette week: "A lot of his friends, he says, are Southern Baptists aghast at gay marriage, 'but I'd be a hypocrite if I asked for equal rights without supporting them for everybody.'"

so there you have it, from the keyboard of a hetero white boy who is proud of his county and his nation [cascadia] where same-sex marriage continues as we speak.

An interesting point 15.Mar.2004 15:25


I think you've brought up a good point: namely, that liberal social causes like gay marriage have traditionally been supported by affluent, white people as opposed to working class whites or minorities. As the issue arises this year, I can definitely see how it can be exploited to draw economically liberal but socially conservative Democrats into the right-wing fold, so to speak.

I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) that the Black Caucus of the Georgia legislature decided to support gay marriage on the basis that, regardless of the religious or personal beliefs held by them or their constituents, they, as black legislators, needed to stand behind equality for all.

It is hardly surprising that this issue is seen so differently by different racial groups. While blacks identify with the struggle for equality, fair wages, jobs, education, affirmative action, etc, they (I realize this is a bit of a generalization but I think it's fair) generally are religiously conservative, especially in the South where many belong to Baptist or other traditional or evangelical churches. The gay marriage issue obviously doesn't get much support from these bases. Furthermore, since it is being painted as a moral, religious issue, it drives people with these different allegiances to take some kind of a stand.

I think this is not true only for blacks but also for Latinos, another socially conservative, largely Catholic or Christian group that has also traditionally voted Democratic (well, except for those Miami Cubans, but they are hardly the typical Latino immigrants). Latino culture is far from being open and accepting of gays, so once again, while Latinos flock to Democrat issues like more open immigration laws, labor protections, fair wages, etc, etc, only the most progressive will be drawn to support gay marriage.

So, I think racial and cultural differences definitely play a role in how people view the gay marriage issue, something that will be exploited by Republicans for all its worth.

hmmm.... 15.Mar.2004 15:41


I think that blanket generalizations about any one group are insulting to everyone. If you get to actually know some people of color, you find that they are all over the political spectrum. I used to work for an African- American dentist who was a die-hard republican who listened to Rush Limbaugh every day. I've met others who were grassroots community activists who would rather vote for a three legged dog than a republican(no offense to the canid clan). I especially find it interesting that this article mentions Georgia's drive to pass legislation defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. Did you know that one of the strongest opposition blocks in the legislature to this proposal is comprised almost entirely of African American lawmakers who say this is an issue akin to the civil rights struggle? As to those who can't understand why gay people would want to bother to fight for the right to be married, I say this: If you put a feast in front of a starving man man and tell him "nah, you don't want any of this, it's not very good anyways", do you think that he'll believe you or want to find out for himself?

Thank you for posting this 15.Mar.2004 18:31

Not a medic

This is a thoughtful article, even though it reaches conclusions that I disagree with. Thanks for posting it.

Some brief responses:

First, if Charles Knipp ever brings "Shirley Q Liquor" anywhere near Portland, I will have to stand in a long line of folks (mostly queer radicals and revolutionaries) who will be kicking his ass. Wanna bet that any club in Portland that brought him here would be closed down with protests? We don't allow neo-nazi bands to perform here, why would we allow someone who is doing blackface to perform, whether they are in drag or not?

True, Will & Grace present all-white gay imagery and are racist by their exclusion. But what about Friends? As has been noted by more than one observer, how can you set a program in New York City for ten years and never have a Black person on it? Network TV is racist, since, as the author of this article correctly states, America is built on whiteness.

The push for equality in marriages in Multnomah County is not just back room deals and Democratic Party opportunism. Anyone who knows the history of the last dozen years in Oregon knows that this has been the site of pitched cultural battles between the Oregon Citizens Alliance and good people. Lesbian Avengers were doing kiss-ins on TriMet ten years ago to liberate the streets, gay men were going into churches across Oregon to sing concerts, queer girls were holding hands in high school and picking fist fights with anyone who challenged them - this has been the reality of Oregon for over a decade now.

Gay and lesbian marriages are the outcome of direct actions and organizing over the last several decades, not just the result of Diane Linn's innate goodness or her fear of being sued (which was the argument she used today to continue handing out licenses).

Finally, marriage as an institution has been oppressive to women (and children). But, just as the struggle for voting rights in the 1960's was always about more than the vote, so is the battle for marriage about much more than that piece of paper. Anyone who is not supporting the rights of lesbians and gay men to get married is in a piss poor position to argue with them about the institution itself.

aw shit 15.Mar.2004 19:04

what'd we do now?

>I know sending this article to this website could be hazardous considering
>the infamous, historical, and rampant anti-blackness of the white left,
>but I thought that yall would like to know.

Aw shit, what'd we do now?

-- white pdx indymedia volunteer not perpetrating race crime on purpose

sigh 15.Mar.2004 20:49


to "aw shit" : your guilt is showing --why so reactionary mmm?

to "homophobic" (1st post): your inability to distinguish rappers from individual black people is showing


im sick of supporting the white left in unlearning racism it never fucking ends

local 15.Mar.2004 20:59

also local

What makes you think the first post is from the "white left". Everyone should know better than to make assumptions like that. As for the post above yours, I think it's an attempt at humor not guilt, though I could be wrong.

Democracy 16.Mar.2004 18:40

Fucking reactionary, just like you

"I know sending this article to this website could be hazardous considering the infamous, historical, and rampant anti-blackness of the white left, but I thought that yall would like to know"

Know what? That the writer is a hypocrite.

At least there is a website for you to express your ignorance.