Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Race, the debate over Same-Sex Marriage, and Cory Booker

Frank Bruni has an interesting column in today's New York Times. He talks about the relationship between race and support for same-sex marriage. More specifically, Bruni focuses on the African-American community chronicling their lack of support for same-sex marriage initiatives especially when compared against Hispanic and Caucasian voters.

Bruni's piece is worth a read for a number of reasons, but it is his discussion of the upcoming Maryland case that piqued my interest. Public opinion research has documented the differences in support for same-sex marriage legislation in the state and the particular opposition the measure faces from African-American pastors and the religious community they represent. Given the state of affairs in Maryland and the state of national public opinion (at least when it comes to race and support for same-sex marriage), it should therefore come as no surprise that the Human Rights Campaign has enlisted Newark Mayor Cory Booker (video featured below) and celebrities like Mo'Nique to show their support for marriage equality.

The question is whether these videos will have an impact in Maryland and beyond. As the debate in Maryland heats up and as Governor Martin O'Malley pushes forward with his attempt to have the state pass same-sex marriage legislation, it is likely that we'll see a whole host of these types of video messages targeting a range of constituency groups -- not just African-Americans. Will these videos be enough to cause shifts in public opinion? Is the connection between civil rights and gay rights a compelling enough argument?

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