The XX Factor

The Essence of Love

Debra , I was not as surprised as I was pleased that Essence magazine took the leap and featured a lesbian couple in its Bridal Bliss section . I think black women are generally more accepting of homosexuality and gay marriage–whether between men or women–than black men. Essence ’s editors surely understand the magazine’s readership and that most modern black women appreciate gay people that are open and honest about their sexual orientation, especially black men who are not living as “undercover brothers” and dating or marrying black women and putting them at a higher risk of being infected with the virus that causes AIDS. We know so many of these men are too ashamed to face the disapproval of their black friends and relatives, or too afraid to suffer the hypocritical wrath of the black church. (Yes, I’m talking about you Bishop Eddie Long and Co.)

(Incidentally, Essence has done feature articles–like a 2002 piece on gay adoption I read that ‘s unfortunately not archived online–on lesbian couples before.)

Although the Pew study didn’t give a racial breakdown of the total number of women who support or oppose gay marriage (46 percent support and 45 percent oppose it in 2010, compared with 43 percent support and 49 opposition in 2008-09), I suspect that if they did, it would show similar rates of higher support among black women.

If we needed any proof that men, both black and white, have more of problem with gay marriage than women, we need only look at the people leading the anti-gay marriage crusades and protests. They’ve been mostly male ministers who use the bible to rationalize and legitimize their intolerance. I guess the biblical dictate of loving your fellow man only goes so far and doesn’t apply to men and women who actually love a fellow man or woman. What’s ironic, and sadly funny too, is that the black ministers are always decrying the low black marriage rate.

I’m willing to bet that many of these “real men” who oppose gay marriage also have some strong (read sexist) opinions about women’s role in society. Witness Bishop Long’s own words .