February 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Jackson wants GOP to focus on marriage

Bishop Harry Jackson (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Two black conservatives are urging the Republican Party to emphasize social issues — such as opposition to same-sex marriage — to build appeal for the GOP among racial minority groups.

Bishop Harry Jackson of the Hope Christian Church, known for leading efforts against legalizing same-sex marriage in D.C., and Rev. Michael Faulkner, author of “Restoring the American Dream,” called for greater attention to social issues at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C.

During a panel titled “Traditional Marriage and Society,” Jackson said the conservative movement has “an opportunity to engage a multi-racial, multi-cultural group of people,” but only if the Republican Party doesn’t throw social issues “under the bus.”

“Whether I like the GOP or not, whether I like Republicans or not, there is no other party now that really is advocating any of the social issues that are consistent with my faith,” Jackson said.

Faulkner, who campaigned against Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), said conservatives need to develop their message to racial minorities because they are ready to support the conservative movement.

“As I campaigned, especially in Latino churches, I was required before the pastor would allow me to speak to give my position on same-sex marriage and on abortion,” Faulkner said. “So they are staunch conservatives, probably more conservative than we are.”

Jackson spoke out against the advancement of marriage rights for gay couples and said it would interfere with parents’ rights in children’s education.

“If you change marriage, you redefine the family; if you redefine the family, you redefine parenting; if you redefine parenting, you must of necessity, redefine education, and in that redefinition, that’s where we get ‘Heather Has Two Mommies’ and a generation of kids as young as five-years-old are told that they are to be gay allies in the State of California,” Jackson said.

Faulker also railed against the advancement of gay nuptials and said pressure to be politically correct can’t change marriage.

“We need to stand for traditional marriage,” Faulkner said. “Not just stand against anyone else, but to stand for our society, stand for our culture, stand for our nation, stand for the children and the families in our nation. If we do not, we will indeed destroy ourselves.”

One LGBT rights group, on the other hand, says that Republicans must continue emphasizing fiscal issues as opposed to social issues to win support among the American public.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said the focus of most conservatives is the economy as some within the movement continue to rail against same-sex marriage.

“There are going to be members of the conservative movement who are still going to hold social issues as their No. 1 focus, but what we saw at CPAC this last year was that was not the primary focus,” Cooper said.

Cooper pointed to the results of CPAC straw poll, which showed that same-sex marriage wasn’t a major concern among attendees.

Support for “protecting tradional marriage” was a priority for 3 percent of straw poll responders. Meanwhile, 53 percent of attendees said reducing the size of the federal government was a priority and 38 percent said reducing government spending was a priority.

Also during the panel discussion, Tom Minnery, senior president of government and public policy for CitizenLink, offered statistics that he said demonstrate countries with same-sex marriage are worse off than places that deny marriage rights to gay couples. LGBT advocates have long disputed the statistical accuracy of Minnery’s work.

Minnery said responders to a survey were asked whether married people were happier in countries with varying levels of relationship recognition for same-sex couples.

According to Minnery, in countries with same-sex marriage, 21 percent of responders said married people were happier; in countries with civil unions; 36 percent say married people are happier; in countries with only regional recognition, 42 percent of people said married people were happier; and in countries with no same-sex marriage, the respect for marriage “goes high.”

For another question on whether children need both a mother and a father to be happy, Minnery said 76 percent of responders said “yes” in countries with same-sex marriage; 80 percent of responders said “yes” in nations with regional recognition; and 93.8 percent of responders said “yes” in countries with no same-sex marriage.

“As the marriage culture in a country declines, the respect for marriage and the belief in its power also declines,” Minnery said. “That’s why our organization continues to believe if this country loses our marriage culture, we’re headed for a lot of trouble.”

In response, Gary Gates, a scholar at the Williams Institute, a think tank on sexual orientation law at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that in the United States, divorce rates are lower in places where same-sex marriage is legal.

“That doesn’t directly say people are quote, happier, but heterosexual relationships are more stable in places where same-sex couples can get married,” Gates said.

According to data last year from U.S. Census Bureau, in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2003, the divorce rate is 1.8 percent — the lowest in the nation.

With regard to statistics on having a mother and father being important for children, Gates said just because people have that belief doesn’t make it true.

“I just saw a report today: 50 percent of Republicans believe that Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen,” Gates said. “Because people believe it, doesn’t make it true.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Wait a minute. Do you mean to tell me that in countries where more people agree with Tom Minnery, people are more likely to agree with Tom Minnery? Gosh oh golly, who’d ha’ thunk that?

  • To witness a black man participating in this kind of discrimination is a humiliation to us all.

    • Thats religion for you. Black had nothing but the church, so they are very conservative theologically. And poor people often are desperate to keep what little they have

      the antis know this and have targetted blacks for decades. And to an extent suceeded. Some of the real extremists blacks are members of Mass Resistance, a hate group.

      Dr. King and Corretta Scott King must be turning over in their graves. Coretta supported full marriage etc equality for gay people. Dr. King in his battles never really got to be involved in what had yet to become another justice movement, thank to some nutcase evangelical – who murdered him. And its the White Evangelicals for the most part who are the worst of the worst re hating gay people.

      Amazing how you put out the fires of hatred and they re-ignite with a new victim.

  • this is news? i remember reading this same article… four years ago.

  • Stupid people. Essentially they’re saying in order to rally support of minorities they need to discriminate against a minority.

  • It is not the Government’s Job to Defend Religious Institutions (DOMA).

    It is not the Government’s Job to create Special recognitions for some Citizens, and not Others.

  • Completely, totally fed-up with the religious right and their irrational boogey-
    man arguments against LGBT rights. Any intelligent discerning person can
    see this can of intolerance and hate is longer going to be tolerated in American

  • The religious right and the Republican Party deserve each other.

  • Even if all the statistics quoted were valid, nothing resembling cause and effect can be interpreted unless you also know what the statistics were before the country legalized same-sex marriages.

  • Study after study after study show children who grow up in a home with their biological parents-one man, one woman, have the best chance & are best raised in this natural environment. Even the Doctor who got homosexuality off the list of mental diseases found in 2003 that people who underwent sexual reorientation therapy had great success. Lastly, if Darwinism is true, how can people who only sleep with the same sex be able to survive hundreds of years? It is a choice, period. Funny how the left lectures every one on facts but ignore these.

  • Bishop Harry Jackson STILL doesn’t get it: By pushing for a ban on gay and lesbian couples getting married, he’s trying to get the Republican Party to enshrine into law a religious doctrine that condemns homosexuality as a sin.

    Sorry, Harry, but Article VI, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution strictly forbids this. “No religious Test shall ever be used as a qualification for any public office or trust in the United States.” Period, end of story.

    Civil marriage is a public trust. To restrict marriage to opposite-gender couples only is to render into public law an anti-gay religious doctrine that violates the religious-test clause of Article VI — not to mention violate the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Give it up, Harry. You have neither a legal nor constitutional leg to stand on.

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