Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Black Legislators in Georgia Halt Anti-Gay Amendment

While white Democratic legislators all over the South are tripping over each other to get to the right of white Republicans on the issue of gay marriage, courageous black representatives in the Georgia House, who know a thing or two about how the law can be used to relegate the rights of a distinct group of people, voted en masse to stop an amendment to the Georgia state constitution that would outlaw gay marriage. The black members of the House "provided 39 of 50 no votes and abstentions that helped the measure fall 3 votes short of the 120 needed for passage."

Since many of these legislators are deacons or even pastors in their churches and are deeply religious, their defection on this issue seemed to surprise the white overlords. But, according to the New York Times, "the state's Legislative Black Caucus has largely come to see [the amendment] as denigrating a minority while playing into the hands of conservative Republicans seeking to spark a large turnout of their base in November."

They get it, even if their white Democratic colleagues demonstrably don't.

" 'I'm a pastor and I don't support gay marriage, but I resent people playing political football with our religious beliefs,' said Representative Ron Sailor Jr., a Democrat whose suburban Atlanta district contains some of the state's largest and most conservative black churches."

Why hasn't a prominent white Democrat made that point, that Karl Rove is "playing political football with religious beliefs"?

Black solidarity against anti-gay initiatives seems to be a national trend. The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a bill similar to Georgia's on Monday, and all 17 no votes were cast by black members.

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