President Bush won re-election and African- Americans dutifully played their part.

Our Black leadership allowed right wing conservatives to come in and message directly to the Black community around gay marriage and supporting the re-election of President Bush because he is a man of faith. In addition, Black pastors allowed their congregations to be bought with faith-based money in the guise of protecting the institution of marriage and the morals of America following behind President Bush like he was the pied piper of morality.

Since when did the morals of America need protecting? Did the morals of America need protecting when Blacks didn’t have the right vote or when Blacks and whites were segregated? Did the morals of America need to be protected when whites argued that allowing interracial couples to marry was an abomination to God?

Black leaders and traditional Black institutions failed African-Americans by not taking a vocal position on the way gay marriage was being used as a divisive tactic and wedge issue. Instead choosing to skirt around it and focus on the war on terrorism, the economy, education, healthcare and affirmative action. They didn’t see gay marriage as an important issue. Imagine that. The one divisive issue used to create a wedge in our community was not seen as an important issue by the Black leadership. It makes me wonder if any of them were on the receiving end of some of that faith-based money from the government.

Why are Blacks so fearful of gays and lesbians and our Black leaders so afraid to take a position on the issue of gay marriage? An issue that clearly divided our community and caused President Bush to gain 2% more of the Black vote than 2000. Would President Bush have been re-elected if he hadn’t received that extra 2% of the Black vote? Let’s see.

According to CNN exit polls, President Bush won re- election with 59,424,292 votes and Senator Kerry received 55,905,019 votes, a difference of 3,519,683. Of the President’s nearly 60 million votes, African-Americans contributed 6,536, 672 votes to his re-election. Looks to me like President Bush should want to go on BET now and thank African- Americans for ensuring his re-election.

Why do we allow ourselves to be bamboozled every time?

It’s obvious that Americans don’t like change. Throughout history, every major change was met with resistance from the masses, including the civil rights movement for African-Americans. Just because that’s the way it is, doesn’t mean that it’s right. At one time, Blacks were thought to be below whites but that didn’t make it right and in the end after much struggle change prevailed.

Just because the Bible says or doesn’t say, doesn’t make it so. The Bible once told whites that they were superior to Blacks and now all of a sudden both Blacks and whites are reading out of the same Bible as it relates to the institution of marriage. This is the same institution that in its early days made a woman the property of a man. I’m sure that came from the Bible as well.

Most African-Americans can’t logically explain why marriage between gays and lesbians should be banned without hiding behind the Bible. Allowing gays and lesbians to marry wouldn’t have affected religion at all if a separation of church and state truly existed. There’s a big difference between "religious marriage" and "civil marriage." Religious marriage usually takes place at a place of worship and is performed by a member of the clergy. Civil marriage is authorized by the state or county and can be performed by a government official. Again, conservatives were counting on the fact that Christian evangelicals wouldn’t be able to connect the dots around this issue.

They were right.

Eleven states passed amendments to their constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. In Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia and Michigan, Black Americans overwhelmingly supported these amendments. My question is this? Now that you have successfully barred gays and lesbians from protecting their families and preserved your precious institution of marriage, are you still unemployed, broke, uneducated and uninsured? Yes? Okay, well I hate to have to tell you but it’s not looking any better for you in the next four years.

Move over P. Diddy, the GOP found the key to turning out the Black vote, scare them with the homosexuals. Because apparently the prospect of gays getting married is more threatening and important than the economic and social plight of African-Americans.

The Black gay and lesbian leadership spent the whole year reaching out to our so-called Black leaders on this issue and very few responded to our call. Caught in the middle of a vicious and carefully planned attack against our race and sexual orientation, we knew we needed to open up dialogue in our community before the election. Instead of focusing on gay marriage, our leadership felt it was more important to address the issue of the down low brotha. Yeah, well that down low brotha is still going to be on down low for the next four years and all of your summits and conferences still aren’t going to show you how to detect a Black man’s sexuality. That time would have been better spent on educating Black Americans on how conservatives are counting on Blacks not being able to see past the gay marriage issue in the election.

If you’re looking for someone to blame, and most you of are, I’d start with our Black leadership. It’s because of their lack of a backbone on the issue of gay marriage that conservatives were able to persuade Black voters to support a man whose motto should be "Leave no billionaire behind." Now how many Black billionaires do you know?

To all of my same-gender loving brothers and sisters in the fight for equality, don’t give up and we have to keep on keeping on. It’s though our visibility and vocalism that we can educate and message to our own community, the Black community.

The Black vote was sold by people that look like you and me to people who hate you and me. Think about that for the next four years.