As an African-American female who was born and raised in Asheville, and who not only supports domestic-partner benefits for same-sex couples, but legalized same-sex marriage as well, I was very disturbed to read the comments submitted to the letters to the editor section of the Feb. 17 Mountain Xpress. While it is unfortunate that many prominent African-American clergy members oppose extending benefits to same-sex domestic-partners of city employees, it is just as unfortunate that many members of the community make the generalization that all African-Americans share this opinion.
Instead of blatantly blaming a segment of the community for not supporting the measure proposed by City Council, why not focus on mobilizing more support around the issue and educate the public on the benefits to the entire community if the measure were to pass? Why not reach out to African-Americans that support the GBLTQ community to [get them to] help explain your position to those in the community who may not fully understand your fight? To me that would be a better and more productive use of time and resources than painting an entire community with the same monochromatic brush.
In regard to those members of the African-American community who feel an extension of benefits to same-sex domestic-partners is degrading our family structure, I say, "Get a clue!" Recognition of same-sex couples isn't the issue we should be opposing or focusing on. Our focus should be supporting single mothers, who happen to be the heads of households in the majority of our homes and have been hit incredibly hard by the current economic climate; emphasizing and encouraging education to our youth; and supporting legislation and elected officials that support our agenda.
— Natalie Bailey