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Al Sharpton Accuses Bush Of Fueling Homophobia Among Blacks

Al Sharpton Accuses Bush Of Fueling Homophobia Among Blacks

by Newscenter Staff

January 20, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(Atlanta, Georgia) The Rev. Al Sharpton told a conference of African American gay leaders Friday that the Bush administration is fostering homophobia in the Black community for his own political gain.

The New York Democrat said that Bush focused on same-sex marriage and traditional fears of gays among Blacks to get re-elected in 2004lwhen he should have been addressing education, health care and jobs.

Speaking in Atlanta at a national conference called by the National Black Justice Coalition, Sharpton said that gay African Americans must engage in dialogue with Black church leaders.

About 150 people from across the country are attending the three day conference aimed at combating homophobia within the Black community.

Sharpton began his speech by saying he grew up in a family that had a gay member. He did not identify that member, but he said that he saw firsthand the bigotry that gay people confront.

Rev. Sharpton recently announced an initiative to vigorously challenge homophobia in the Black Church.

The conference also was told that it is imperative that religious leaders realize and recognize the contributions of the LGBT community and the impact marriage discrimination will have on African American children and families.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, black same-sex couples earn roughly $2,000 to $9,000 less in median annual household income than black married opposite-sex couples.

Last November many Blacks across the country supported President Bush's re-election over concerns Democrats were too favorable to LGBT issues.

Black church leaders also were instrumental in the advancement of amendments in several states to ban same-sex marriage.

The growing disharmony between Black clergy and gays reached a climax in October when gay African American leader Keith Boykin was prevented from speaking at the Millions More March on the National Mall, despite an invitation from march organizer Louis Farrakhan.

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