Pictured Paul Robeson Ford at a protest showing Black support for gay marriage. Paul Robeson Ford (#2) and Karen Hutt (#3) at the Blacks for Gay Marriage rally. Photos by John Pennycuff
In an attempt to counter recent public attacks on same-sex marriages by Black church coalitions, local activists held a press conference May 20 outside the Cook County Building. They are part of a new group in town, Blacks for Gay Marriage.
The National Black Justice Coalition is also firing back at homophobic Black ministers. This comes after a group of Black ministers, led by Bishop Paul Morton Sr., called on the Congressional Black Caucus to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.
In the Chicago region, Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit and Rev. James Meeks of Salem Baptist Church have both condemned gay marriages.
Trotter and Meeks 'do not represent us, nor do they represent the majority of Black folks in this city who are justice-loving people,' said Rev. Karen Hutt of the predominantly gay Church of the Open Door.
'We are here today representing African American lesbians, gays, straight people, clergy people, students, mothers, fathers, workers, scholars, the unemployed, and everybody in between that would be in the Black community,' Hutt said. 'We do not live in Boystown on Halsted or some other gay ghetto. We live in Englewood, Austin, South Shore, Garfield Park, Logan Square, Chatham and the Low End.'
'Bishop Paul Morton Sr. and other ministers of Black churches should take a hard look at their church from the pulpit to the congregation and remember that the majority of Black gays and lesbians attend black churches and not 'homosexual' churches,' said National Black Justice Coalition member Jasmyne Cannick in a press release. 'When tithes are given in church, heterosexuality is not a perquisite. The churches accept everyone's tithes. Furthermore, ones sexual orientation does not supersede their race and culture. I am a Black lesbian. I was raised in an African American household. I don't eat gay food I eat soul food, I don't attend a gay church, I attend a Black church.'
In other news, NBJC released details on the lead Congressional co-sponsors of the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA)—not surprisingly, they have abysmal voting records on issues important to the African-American community. 'It's no surprise that members of Congress who are trying to write discrimination into the Constitution have the worst civil-rights records in Congress,' said Keith Boykin, NBJC president.
'Members of Congress supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment are no friends of fairness.' The nine lead Senate co-sponsors of the FMA (S.J.Res.30) have an average score of 3.4% when voting on civil-rights issues identified by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Voting Record and an average of 6.4% on civil-rights votes from the NAACP Legislative Report Card.
The Senate co-sponsors are Wayne Allard (R-CO); Sam Brownback (R-KS); Michael Enzi (R-WY); James Inhofe (R-OK); Trent Lott (R-MS); Zell Miller (DGA); Rick Santorum (R-PA); Jeff Sessions (R-AL); Richard Shelby (R-AL).
The five original co-sponsors in the House of Representatives have similarly poor civil-rights voting records, according to the report. On average, they score 29.7% on the LCCR Voting Record and 45% on the NAACP Report Card. The original House co-sponsors are Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-4-CO); Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-7-NC); Rep. Collin Peterson (D-7-MN); Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-1-VA); Rep. David Vitter (R-1-LA); Rep. Ralph Hall (D-4-TX).
See www.nbjcoalition.org .