Maryland Black Leaders Hail New Poll Showing Growing African American Support for Marriage Equality
May 24, 2012
Mark McLaurin, MBFA, 240-477-9608, MclaurinM@seiu500.org
BALTIMORE - Today, the leaders of the Maryland Black Family Alliance (MBFA) celebrated the announcement of a new poll showing that growth in African American support for marriage equality is helping to create a huge public opinion swing in favor of legal protections for all families in Maryland. Overall, the Public Policy Poll of Maryland voters shows a decisive majority (57%) would vote in favor of same-sex marriage if it is on the ballot in November, while 37% would vote against.
"These numbers confirm what those of us in the community already knew - that when we are faced squarely with the question of whether all Maryland families should be treated as equals, not in the church house, but in the State House - we stand on the side of justice," said Rev. Larry Brumfield, President of the Maryland Black Family Alliance.
The MBFA is a coalition member of Marylanders for Marriage Equality (MME), which released the poll today. In a press release, MME today highlighted a memo by PPP pollster Tom Jensen noting there has been a "major shift in opinion about gay marriage among black voters [in Maryland]." Fifty-five percent of African Americans now say they would vote for the law and only 36% oppose it. These numbers have essentially flipped since PPP conducted an identical poll in March.
The MBFA believes that recent announcements by both President Barack Obama's and the NAACP's of support for marriage equality have helped to create a positive environment for African Americans to have real conversations about why all families, including Black families headed by same-sex couples, deserve to be valued.
"People tend to believe that African Americans are dead set against marriage equality. However the reality is that African American attitudes are not half as intense as people thought they were," said Lester K. Spence, Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. "And when trusted elites like President Obama or even JayZ express support, African Americans tend to revisit and revise their own attitudes."
Founded in 2007, the Maryland Black Family Alliance is an alliance of straight, black allies who are faith leaders, elected officials, social workers, artists, professors, activists, attorneys, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends who all believe injustice for all of Maryland families - including those headed by same-sex households.
Working in partnership with black LGBT leadership and advocacy organizations, the MBFA's seeks to frame the discourse among black Marylanders on civil marriage for same-sex couples, as well as educate and empower allies and potential allies about issues of importance to Maryland's black LGBT communities, including HIV/AIDS, combating violence and addressing issues of social justice.