Poll: 55% of Blacks Say Gay Rights Not the Same as Civil Rights

By Melanie Arter | March 28, 2013 | 12:35pm EDT

Robert Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)

(CNSNews.com) – A new poll commissioned by Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Bob Johnson and conducted by Zogby showed that 55 percent of African-American adults do not agree with the LGBT community’s claim that gay rights are the same as civil rights for blacks.

“There weren’t any real surprises. On the issue of gay rights, African-Americans are far more conservative on that issue than I think the general population, so that wasn’t a surprise,” Johnson, who is also founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, said Tuesday at the National Press Club when asked what findings surprised him most.

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“We had another question that we … didn’t put in the speech: Did African-Americans believe that gay rights are the same as equal rights for African-Americans, and surprisingly they shared the view that gays can make the argument that their rights are tantamount to African-Americans, equal with civil rights,” Johnson, who is also founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, said Tuesday at the National Press Club when asked what findings surprised him most.

Johnson’s remark on gay rights contradicted the section of his own poll on equal rights for gays, which found that in fact, 55 percent of those surveyed said no when asked, “Do you believe that equal rights for gays are the same as equal rights for African Americans.” In contrast, 28 percent said yes. That’s almost two to one who said that equal rights for the gay community is no the same as equal rights for blacks.

However, respondents were basically split on the issue of gay marriage.

When asked, “Do you believe marriage should be restricted to between a man and a woman or do you believe that persons of the same sex should be allowed to marry and receive similar benefits as heterosexual couples,” 42 percent said marriage should be between a man and woman, while 40 percent said same-sex couples should be allowed to marry with benefits.

Respondents were also asked: “Do you believe ministers who oppose homosexuality, including the rights of gays and lesbians to marry are right, wrong, or no opinion.” A majority of respondents (35 percent) had no opinion, but 34 percent said ministers were right to oppose homosexuality and gay marriage, and 31 percent said ministers were wrong.

The poll was conducted through online survey of 1,002 African-American adults, and calls were made Feb. 14 – 20, 2013. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

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