A report in the San Francisco Chronicle details the divide among “churchgoing African Americans” in the battle over Proposition 8, a state ballot measure to ban gay marriage in California.

Churches are the most influential organizations in the black community, which accounts for 6 percent of the state population and 12 percent of the national population. Demographic surveys of churchgoing African Americans reveal that the community is somewhat more inclined to restrict gay rights – but not as much as some think.

In a survey of 35,000 Americans about religious beliefs conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 46 percent of those who attend historically African American churches believe that society should discourage homosexuality, while 40 percent believe that society should accept it. The survey didn’t address the many African Americans who no longer attend historically black churches.

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