A couple of days ago, Bishop Harry Jackson took to the evangelical newspaper Christian Post, writing a strong condemnation of the recent Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality. Citing every platitude in the book, Jackson argued that same-sex marriages would destroy children, eviscerate the institution of marriage, and even attempted to connect the issue to absentee fathers. While Jackson's outlook on the subject is certainly not isolated among the black community, it very well could be dying a slow death as the tide of homosexual demonization begins to recede, and opinions begin to shift on the issue.
Jackson's comments, like many who come down on this side of the marriage equality debate, do not appear to be substantiated by anything other than instinctual inclination and pure emotion. To his credit, he does throw us a bone in providing some evidence by pointing to Scandinavia, a region of the world that has been at the vanguard on the issue of marriage equality. Jackson argues that the ramifications of such support for marriage equality have led to "overwhelming number of adults having simply stopped bothering to get married in the first place."
In a great op-ed piece at Huffington Post, James Peron convincingly shows that rates of marriage were declining well before same-sex partnerships and marriages were legalized, and that after their legalization, the rates of marriage went up and the rates of divorce went down. In other words, Jackson is wrong. The title of Jackson's piece is "Wounds of This Generation Can Harm Children." Thus, the bulk of his argument is one predicated on the notion that marriage equality "destroys children."
I suppose the notion of "destruction" would rest upon one's definition of it, but it's a safe bet that destruction is not often associated with slightly better social skills, academic performance, and behavior, as researchers found in examining the children of lesbians in comparison to the children of heterosexual parents. Jackson also attempts to insert the issue of fathers not being there for their children, a valid issue on its own, but one that fails the relevancy test in regards to this issue. Perhaps I am wrong, but I'm not at all familiar with the issue of single fathers shirking away fatherhood in an effort to marry other single fathers. It is not entirely clear where the connection is between single parenthood and homosexual marriages.
The more relevant question here, of course, is how strong opinions are on this subject in the black community. African-Americans still came out to the polls to vote for the president at staggering numbers even after his support for marriage equality, and at the very least that can be taken to mean that it's not a make-or-break issue at the moment. Additionally, there is polling coming out now that points to strong movement being made in the direction of marriage equality in the last couple of months, particularly in the wake of comments made by President Obama.
Jackson's comments may have had the support of much of the conservative religious community, but it's becoming clear that those perspectives are out of touch and increasingly immaterial.