The Human Rights Campaign recently started a new push for gay marriage called Americans for Marriage Equality, and since its inception two weeks ago, video testimonials from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, actress Mo’Nique, and former NAACP chairman Julian Bond have been released. "Three prominent black Americans in a row. That’s no accident," writes Frank Bruni in the New York Times. The campaign "implicitly acknowledges the complicated relationship between gay Americans and another minority group not firmly on their side."
It would be wonderful if "any and all people who had ever suffered discrimination would … [gather] together under one big anti-bigotry banner," Bruni continues, but that’s not the case. Numerous polls have found that blacks, in particular, oppose gay marriage. Many do so on religious grounds, but others have been upset by a too-broad appropriation of "civil rights" language, Bruni writes. As the leader of a civil rights coalition tells him, phrases and attitudes like "gay is the new black" can be "deeply offensive" and "inherently disrespectful to the black experience in this country." That’s why these new ads are spot-on: They "don’t feel disrespectful. They feel very, very smart, the product of a movement becoming ever savvier about precisely whom it needs to persuade and how best to persuade them."