By Nick Wing
Former White House adviser Van Jones thinks President Obama has already locked up the support of black voters ahead of the 2012 elections, regardless of his views on gay marriage.
“I think if President Obama came out as gay he wouldn’t — President Obama is not going to lose the black vote no matter what he does,” Jones quipped Monday on MSNBC, responding to a question from host Alex Wagner about a potential loss of support among African Americans if Obama came out in favor of marriage equality.
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“I don’t understand this particular strategy,” Jones continued. “Certainly, our numbers are a little bit more — because we’re more religious as a community — a little bit softer on some of this stuff, but it’s not a hardcore issue for that many African Americans. In fact, I don’t even understand the argument that gay marriage is a threat to marriage.”
Wagner then suggested that Obama “is, of course, in support of gay marriage,” but couldn’t express this belief publicly because of some sort of political pressure or calculation.
Last week, documents from anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage were leaked, revealing a campaign to divide gay and African American Democrats. A passage from the memo read:
“The strategic goal…is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…”
While Obama has consistently maintained that his views on gay marriage are “evolving,” equality activists have recently ramped up pressure on him to be more vocal about his support for the cause. This push has recently manifested itself through debate over whether or not to include a marriage equality plank in the Democratic party platform. While some high-profile Democrats have spearheaded this effort, others acknowledge that it could be a difficult issue for the president to address during campaign season.