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Obama opens floodgates for gay marriage support, but not all are happy with focus on gay rights

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 5/25/2012, 11:58 a.m.
Obama declares 'America is back'

It's been several weeks since President Barack Obama came out in support same-sex marriage. Since then, many other prominent Black figures and celebrities have followed suit. Rappers, actors, activists and civil rights leaders have put out statements and given interviews in support of same-sex marriage.

"What people do in their own homes is their business," rapper Jay-Z told CNN. "And you can choose to love whoever you love. That's their business."

"It's no different than discriminating against Blacks," Will Smith said.

"If anybody can find someone to love them and to help them through this difficult thing that we call life, I support them in any shape or form," Smith continued.

"He finally came around, didn't he?" said Janet Jackson during an interview with the television show "Extra." "He finally came around; good for him."

Others took to Twitter to voice their pleasure with Obama for coming out for same-sex marriage. "Honestly, it's about time! This is great news!" said Alicia Keys on Twitter.

But the biggest statement of support backing Obama wasn't heard until Nation Action Network President the Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond, president and CEO of the National Coalition for Black Civic Engagement Melanie Campbell and Southern Christian Leadership Conference President the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery released a joint statement. The statement backed up Obama on what some people have called the leading civil rights issue of the 21st century.

"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,'" read the statement. "As leaders in today's Civil Rights Movement, we stand behind President Obama's belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to join in civil marriages. We also affirm that individuals may hold different views on this issue but still work together toward our common goals: fair housing and equitable education, affordable health care and eradicating poverty, all issues of deep and abiding concern for our communities."

But some Black church pastors aren't happy with the NAACP backing Obama's stance on gay marriage. The Rev. Williams Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, had this to say about the NAACP.

"The NAACP has abandoned its historic responsibility to speak for and safeguard the Civil Rights Movement," said Owens in a statement. "We who marched with Rev. King did not march one inch or one mile to promote same-sex marriage."

Same-sex marriage is an attempt to do the opposite of what Rev. King did, Owens continued. Its an attempt by men to use political power to declare that an act contrary to God's law and to the natural law is a civil right. By paying homage to worldly political power and not to God's law, the men and women in the NAACP who voted to endorse gay marriage as a civil right have brought dishonor on themselves. We will not stand by and let our beloved Civil Rights Movement be hijacked without a fight.

Blacks aren't a monolith, and one statement from Obama about "evolving" won't turn the tide of an entire community. While much of the mainstream media focuses on the false narrative of fierce anti-homosexual sentiment in the Black community (as if only Blacks held anti-gay thoughts), some aren't happy with the focus on gay rights; they feel the biggest issues in the Black community should take precedent.