Race and Opposition to Same Sex Marriage

Opposition to Same Sex Marriage by Race: GSS 1988-2010

Last year, we published an article in Social Science Quarterly examining the racial gap in support for same-sex marriage, and showing that religious factors are a major reason why African Americans are more opposed to civil rights for same sex couples. Given the trend towards liberalization, I was wondering how far African Americans had moved between 2008 and 2010. As you can see above in the trend in opposition or strong opposition to same sex marriage, the latest General Social Survey shows that both whites and African Americans liberalized, and at roughly the same rate. However, the gap persists. Over half  (51%) of African Americans remain opposed to civil rights for same sex couples, while only 39% of whites are in opposition. Notably, if the trend persists, African American opposition will fall well-below 50% in the 2012 GSS.

6 Responses to “Race and Opposition to Same Sex Marriage”

  1. The religious basis of Black opposition to marriage rights « Family Inequality Says:

    […] Daniel Sherkat, on his blog, updates the public opinion trends on homogamy through 2010, showing that smaller proportions of both Blacks and Whites are […]

    • Philip Cohen Says:

      “Daniel”: I fixed your name at 4AM last night, but the trackback quote is still wrong. Sorry. Lord works in mysterious ways.

      • sherkat Says:

        Praise the lord of all the universe…..it must be that nautilus looking creature, no administrative sense at all…almost like an assistant dean or something….

        Daniel is my brother, not to conjure up Elton John references in the thread…

  2. James Sweet Says:

    Hey, I thought we weren’t supposed to talk about this!

    Over at the Prop 8 Trial Tracker blog, I had to laugh at a post where they argued rather vociferously that the “myth” that a big turnout of black voters had worked in favor of Prop 8’s passage had been thoroughly debunked, because religious affiliation was a far better predictor of same-sex marriage support than race. Well duh, nobody is arguing that African-Americans oppose same-sex marriage because they are African-American, that’s just silly. The problem is that the African-American community is being hoodwinked by the unholy combination of: a long historical association with a highly submissive form of Christianity, cheered on by slaveowners who were happy to see their property looking towards freedom in the afterlife rather than the present; a pernicious stereotype of the African-American woman as long-suffering and ever-pious (i.e. ever-submissive), which allows a deeply patriarchal religious hierarchy to flourish, where the leadership positions are virtually all men and the congregation is predominantly women; the greed of corrupt pastors who seek to exploit those around them for personal gain; and last but not least, the ongoing financial and social insecurity experienced by many African-Americans (and there is very strong evidence insecurity drives people towards religion) as a result of white America’s disgraceful history in that regard.

    If anyone doubts that the African-American community is being disproportionately victimized and brain-fucked by religion, they ought to read a bit of Sikivu Hutchinson. It boggles the mind people don’t see this, because what else to attribute the rather inexplicable fact that African-Americans disproportionately oppose same-sex marriage, when mixed-race marriage went through the same fight only a few decades ago?

    We’re not supposed to making observations of this type because it’s supposedly racist — after all, it is true that it’s religion that predicts this variable, not race per se — but to fail to acknowledge what’s going on here is to close our eyes to an ongoing scourge on the African-American community. Any ideology that advocates turning the other cheek and patiently enduring suffering so that rewards might be reaped in the afterlife is poison to a group that is still subject to vast invisible prejudices and countless systemic biases.

  3. sherkat Says:

    Yeah, I thought it was kind of funny that all of the PC types were immediately protesting against the Mormons and Catholics. Mormons make up about 1% of the California population (though some rich mormons wasted a lot of money donating to prop-8), and Catholics are for gay marriage! Pedophile priests are against gay marriage, but Catholics love all weddings, as long as there is booze.

  4. James Sweet Says:

    Heh… well, the Mormon and Catholic churches dumped a lot of money into it (not to mention that the Mormons organised a whole bunch of volunteers in California to go door to door — their specialty! — promoting Prop 8), and then nefariously tried to hide it. Even if the effect they had was small, the ethical issues (avoiding disclosure of funding) are pretty serious, and I don’t doubt they had a disproportionate effect anyway.

    The black churches may have been a more important factor, but at least they weren’t hiding anything…

    Bah! I’m just up in arms about the whole Prop 8 thing from start to finish. What a disaster. At least here in NYS we don’t let the freaking general public vote pass state constitutional amendments based on a bare majority (?!?!?), so if the idiot legislature ever gets it together to pass a law sanctioning same-sex marriage — and they might not be too far off — we’ll probably have it for good.

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