The Obama Effect and Same-Sex Marriage Equality

Has President Obama’s announcement that he supports same-sex marriage equality changed the hearts and minds of the Black community?

According to new poll data, the answer seems to be yes.

In an article on the subject, Nona Willis Arnowitz gathers the data and the possible factors for the rise in support for gay marriage in the Black community.

Since President Obama came out in favor of gay marriage a couple of weeks ago, there’s been a noticeable shift in black Americans’ opinion on gay marriage. A new Washington Post-ABC survey found that 59 percent of black people now say they support same-sex marriage—an 18 point jump since Obama’s announcement. Fifty-three percent of Americans now believe that same-sex marriage should be legalized; that represents a seismic shift since 2006, when just 39 percent of those polled thought it should be legalized.

The Washington Post warned of a “relatively small sample size,” but numbers elsewhere are echoing the pattern: A recent Public Policy poll showed that 57 percent of Maryland voters approve of the new gay marriage law, with 55 percent of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36 percent now opposed. Those numbers have reversed from just a few months ago, when 56 percent of black voters sa[id] they would vote against the new law and only 39 percent planning to uphold it.

Those are some hopeful stats for the LGBT community, but Willis Arnowitz reminds us that it isn’t like Obama came out with his support in a vacuum. Fact is, support of LGBT rights has been gaining momentum over the last five years with politicians, some denominations of churches, politicians and celebrities. She cites “…influential black celebrities like Will Smith and Jay-Z, along with political leaders like Jesse Jackson, Corey Booker, and Rep. John Lewis, have come out in favor of same-sex marriage. So has the NAACP.”

What do you think of the increased support for same-sex marriage? What do you believe are the biggest factors in moving the mindset of the public toward equality?

Read the rest of Nona Willis Arnowitz’s post here.



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  1. Hmm, figuring out why people have changed their minds on an issue. If it were me, I’d ask them.

    Now, if only there were some sort of organization dedicated to asking people questions and reporting the answers.

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