Between 1996 and 2012, opposition against SSM has decreased in both groups at about the same rate: - 0.8 percentage points per year (PPY).
However support for SSM has increased among Whites much faster than among African Americans. Between 1996 and 2012-APR:
By 2012, many polls have consistently shown that most American adults favor SSM. However, among African Americans, only a minority support SSM; there remains a margin of 10 percentage points between support and opposition. If the average rate of increase in support over the past 16 years continues, it will take until 2018-Fall before most African Americans favor SSM. 1 However, as shown by the graph below, the rate of change in acceptance of and opposition to SSM appears to be accelerating rapidly in recent years. The gap may well be closed by 2014 or 2015.
1996 to 2012: Polling data from Pew Research Center:
Possible reasons for the slower increase in support for SSM by African Americans:
One reason for the slow increase in support for SSM among African Americans might be their religious affiliation. Fundamentalist and other evangelical Christians form the main opposition to marriage equality in the U.S. A larger percentage of fundamentalist and other evangelical Christians is found among African Americans than in the general population.
Another cause might be the increasing perception in the U.S. that denial of equal marriage and other forms of discrimination against the LGBT community has become a major current civil rights concern. This naturally draws a comparison with past denial of equal rights of African Americans. That discrimination started centuries ago with the arrival of human slavery in the U.S. It continues today in the form of widespread racial segregation and oppression of African Americans. This naturally leads to resentment on the part of many African Americans because their degree of suffering was massive compared to the current pain experienced by lesbians and gays. Prior to the end of slavery in the 1860s, African American slaves were considered property to be bought and sold; they were physically abused. For centuries, they were not allowed to marry. Their relationships were broken up at the whim of the slave owners, Black women were raped with impunity. African Americans were not allowed to vote. Their education opportunities were limited. The list continues.
2012-MAY: Democratic leaders' support for SSM and their effect of African American attitudes:
In the months before his election as President in 2008-NOV, President Obama repeatedly said that he favored civil unions for same-sex couples which gave them the same rights and protections of marriage. However, wherever civil unions have been tried as a "separate but equal" system to marriage, they have failed. "Civil unionized" couples often have to fight and/or launch lawsuits to obtain the rights guaranteed to them. Many people and institutions are not aware that civil unions are intended to carry the same legal rights as marriage. Civil Unions have also failed because they do not give same-sex couples the right to call their relationship a marriage. This is for some people the most important right of all. To appreciate how important the term "marriage" is to many couples in a civil union, one need only ask any opposite-sex married couple whether they would be willing to trade in their marriage certificate for a civil union document.
Since taking office in 2008-JAN, President Obama had been often asked about his stand on same-sex marriage. He had always replied that his position was "evolving." Then he would typically deflect the question by pointing out the achievements of his administration in furthering equality for LGBTs: passing the federal hate-crimes bill; repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the military; issuing an executive order to require almost all hospitals to recognize the visitation rights of same-sex relationship partners; and ordering the Justice Department stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act from constitutional challenges in the courts.
On MAY-06, Vice President Joe Biden, who is a practicing Roman Catholic, issued a positive same-sex marriage message on "Meet the Press." He said that he was:
"... absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that." 2
On MAY-07: Education Secretary Arne Duncan appeared on MSNBC's program "Morning Joe." When asked if same-sex couples should be able to marry, he said: "Yes, I do." He also commented that he didn't think that anyone had asked him that question in public before. 3
Micah Cohen of the New York Times commented:
Cohen gives several reasons why these data should be cautiously interpreted.
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