Is Gay Marriage Another Blow to the Struggling African-American Family?
by Christopher Arps (bio)
When Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed same-sex marriage into law in New York, his action highlighted our country's deep moral decline.
What consenting adults do in the privacy of the bedroom is not my business nor concern. My objection to same-sex marriage comes from a deep Christian faith, love of country and concern for the future of the African-American people.
How does same-sex marriage affect black America? Consider this June 23 Associated Press excerpt:
Preliminary census estimates also show the share of African-American households headed by women — mostly single mothers — now exceeds African-American households with married couples, reflecting the trend of declining U.S. marriages overall.
"We're moving toward an acknowledgment that we're living in a different world than the 1950s, where married or two-parent heterosexual couples are now no longer the norm for a lot of kids, especially kids of color," said Laura Speer, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.
There is already an entire generation of angry and disillusioned young men looking for acceptance, parental love and a strong male presence that is often filled by street gangs. This fosters a violent lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number-one cause of death for African-American males between the ages of 15-30 is now homicide.
As a woman ages, she is less likely to ever marry. The last census found just 36 percent of African-American women were married, down from 62 percent in 1950. In some African-American communities there is a negative birthrate due to abortion. It portends a bleak future for black America.
Why add same-sex marriage to the mix? With the black family in freefall, why redefine and diminish the value of marriage?
Christian faith helped sustain black Americans during the dark days of slavery and Jim Crow. Christian religious leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy, through their faith, determination and sacrifices, broke the back of legal discrimination. The Bible clearly and emphatically states that homosexuality is wrong. PERIOD.
So why do so many African-Americans endorse the liberals' progressive, secularist agenda?
Elliot Eley, a very good friend and a senior pastor at Welborn Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas, poignantly describes the age-old battle between secular humanism and Christianity:
We are battling the same issue of the 1500s. Before the "humanistic" era took hold of this world, people held to the truth of the Bible — regardless whether they accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Case in point, the law which we as Americans hold to derives from the Book of Deuteronomy. These laws are applied for human decency and for order for society.
The truth that needs to be acknowledged is that the proponents for gay marriage have EQUAL rights to live there lives as they choose in our great country. However, they do not have the right to demand that we redefine the ONLY definition of marriage.
In the Move-On-Up.org video "Are These Our Values?," former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond endorses same-sex marriage by comparing it to the civil rights movement in which he participated. Bond says: "It just seems like something right to do. The right to be married is a civil right, and I believe civil rights should be extended to everybody."
Besides being highly offensive, Bond is wrong. As black scholar Shelby Steele notes:
[G]ay marriage is simply not a civil rights issue. It is not a struggle for freedom. It is a struggle of already free people for complete social acceptance and the sense of normalcy that follows thereof — a struggle for the eradication of the homosexual stigma. Marriage is a goal because, once open to gays, it would establish the fundamental innocuousness of homosexuality itself. Marriage can say like nothing else that sexual orientation is an utterly neutral human characteristic, like eye-color. Thus, it can go far in diffusing the homosexual stigma.
After legitimizing homosexuality through legal same-sex marriage, the next logical step is to further advance this "alternative lifestyle" in school curricula. This is already underway in California.
But, in reality, this will be a pyrrhic victory. Many parents will be outraged that their children are taught material betraying their values. Will harmony have been achieved? Hardly. And new confusions will certainly tear at the black family.
Controversial issues such as same-sex marriage will always stir up passions. We are blessed to live where we can have these debates. I have sincere empathy for homosexuals' desire to live without stigma, ridicule or threats of physical violence. At the same time, I also desire empathy for those who don't want traditional marriage changed by a vocal minority seeking social acceptance.
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Christopher Arps is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network and a founder of Move-On-Up.org. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org.
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.
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