African American voters are rapidly evolving on marriage equality, and it appears that President Barack Obama’s recent endorsement sparked the momentum. Since the president voiced his support, scores of black leaders, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, have also come out in support of same-sex marriage. Their leadership has in turn inspired many black voters, who have also been evolving, to stand firmly on the side of equality.
Recent polling shows a significant uptick in support for marriage equality among black voters, now solidly above 55 percent. A dramatic shift also occurred in Maryland, which has a significant black voting population and is expected to see marriage equality on the ballot in November. Black voters in the state now overwhelmingly say they would vote to uphold the recent law allowing same-sex marriage. If passed, Maryland will be the first state to uphold marriage equality by a referendum.
These numbers tell us that same-sex marriage is no longer a divisive issue in black and gay communities. Instead, we are seeing fresh dialogue that unites us around our common humanity. The dialogue also gives visibility to black gay and transgender Americans, who are often overlooked in our society.
The infographic below highlights black voters’ shift on marriage equality.