Helping the Black Family through Gay Marriage

Washpost

By Jonathan Capehart
March 31, 2014
Washington Post

With one map, the phenomenal researchers at the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School showed me the importance of marriage equality to the African American community. Greater familial and economic security for families come with marriage. Not only would both help all same-sex couples who choose to marry, they also would be of great help to black communities struggling to maintain or regain both.

“More than 70 percent of African American households are led by single mothers, and unmarried heterosexual couples raising children have the highest poverty rates in this country,” Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks, executive director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, told me. “The concept of having two mothers or two fathers in the household, raising children together and being legally married, builds a stronger economic foundation and family structure that should be lauded in the African American community.”

Making this connection between marriage equality and its potential impact on African Americans was not the intent of the Williams Institute, a California-based think tank on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. Theirs was a straightforward survey of African American gay and lesbian singles and same-sex couples. But I made the connection between blacks and same-sex marriage as Angeliki Kastanis and Gary Gates presented their data during a panel I moderated on the Hill last month.

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