African Americans who oppose gay marriage are reconsidering their beliefs, thanks to Obama’s shift, Allison Samuels reports.
Annie May Johnson grew up next to the tobacco field her parents worked in Lillington, North Carolina. At 75 years old, Johnson long held the belief that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman, no matter the times. That’s what her parents taught her years ago, and it’s what the good Rev. Mosley preached each Sunday morning at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church during her childhood.
Johnson never believed her view on the issue would waver. But that all changed on Wednesday, when President Obama announced publicly that he was in favor of same-sex marriage, a change from his 2008 campaign stand. Saying his beliefs had evolved from his support of civil unions instead of same-sex marriages, Obama sent ripples through the country and caused Annie May Johnson to take a second look at an issue she thought she’d decided on long ago.
“I always saw marriage as a man and a woman being together for a lifetime,’’ says Johnson, on the phone from her North Carolina home. “That’s all I ever saw growing up, and that is all my parents saw in their day. But when Obama said he now was in favor of it, I thought maybe I’ve been too pigheaded about this thing for too long.’’
Johnson is like many older, deeply religious blacks in this country—women in particular—who attend church each Sunday, tithe 10 percent of their income without fail to their religious institution of choice, and try as best they can to live life by the letter of the Bible.
She’s also among many in the black community who believe in giving the first African-American president the benefit of the doubt on controversial political issues, even if his view is worlds apart from their own way of thinking. READ MORE