Former White House advisor Van Jones wasn’t suggesting that President Obama was gay on MSNBC Tuesday, only that if he were, he still wouldn’t lose the black vote.
Jones was responding to a question about why the president hasn’t openly supported gay marriage and whether fear of losing support in the black community was a factor.
To which Jones responded: “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, who is black, went on to say that he didn’t believe gay marriage was such an issue for African American voters. “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,” he said. “But it’s not a hardcore issue for that many African Americans.”
And he may be right. According to polling data from the Wall Street Journal and NBC, African American support of gay marriage has risen from 23 per cent to 50 per cent between October 2009 and March 2012, which is higher than white voters but lower than Hispanic voters. Overall, 49 per cent of all Americans say they support gay marriage, according to the same poll.
During his presidency, Obama has shied away from openly support gay marriage, though he recently said that his views of the issue are “evolving.” This lack of firm commitment, though, has drawn ire from a number of notable Democrats, including Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren. Last month Warren said the president needs to evolve already on the issue.
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