My Photo

« Look Busy People | Main | A Man Out of Time »

November 05, 2008

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515c2369e2010535d5177d970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Prop 8 and the Black Vote:

Comments

The decisive factor in passing Prop 8 was almost certainly the financial and political support of LDS Church, which is probably one of the whitest religious communities in the world. It may be consoling for some white lesbian and gay people to blame black voters, but get some perspective.

I found Prop 8 very annoying.

As I recall, you actively supported the Republican Party, and Bush for President, during the 2004 campaign in which Bush was speechifying for an amendment to the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. So obviously, not that annoying - you didn't consider supporting gay marriage the right thing to do then.

Its existence was in response to what I thought was a poor strategic decision on the part of gay rights advocates—to take the faster court route rather than plodding through the legislature for a few more years. I thought that going through the courts was likely to produce a backlash that would make gay marriage ultimately take longer to get than if we stuck to the California legislature and governor.

Every advance towards LGBT equality has been greeted and often obstructed by white right-wing gay men with cries of "OMG! Backlash!" They are in general the most comfortable and privileged group in the LGBT communities, and frequently are so lost to anything but their own perceived self-interest that they identify as Republican. Taking strategic advice from a group who openly declare that they don't care what happens to other LGBT people so long as their own privilege protects them, would be a serious mistake.

"As I recall, you actively supported the Republican Party, and Bush for President, during the 2004 campaign in which Bush was speechifying for an amendment to the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. So obviously, not that annoying - you didn't consider supporting gay marriage the right thing to do then."

Since his chance of getting a US amendment passed on that basis was precisely zero, it wasn't in my calculation.

"Every advance towards LGBT equality has been greeted and often obstructed by white right-wing gay men with cries of 'OMG! Backlash!'"

Having a law passed and signed in through the normal legislative process not only would be, but in fact was supported by me. My strategic advice was as to HOW BEST TO IMPLEMENT GAY MARRIAGE. Not whether or not we should try to implement gay marriage.

"The decisive factor in passing Prop 8 was almost certainly the financial and political support of LDS Church, which is probably one of the whitest religious communities in the world. It may be consoling for some white lesbian and gay people to blame black voters, but get some perspective."

White voters voted against Prop 8 by about 55 to 45. They were already more firmly in the No camp than I would have guessed.

And I'm not sure what you mean by 'blame'. The facts are what they are.

Its existence was in response to what I thought was a poor strategic decision on the part of gay rights advocates—to take the faster court route rather than plodding through the legislature for a few more years.

It's what the Governor told them to do. He was going to veto every bill that got past. Bit disingenuous to imply in your argument that you support gay rights while suggesting they pound their heads against a brick wall.

Having a law passed and signed in through the normal legislative process not only would be, but in fact was supported by me. My strategic advice was as to HOW BEST TO IMPLEMENT GAY MARRIAGE. Not whether or not we should try to implement gay marriage.

Um, did you miss the part where the legislature *did* pass a law legalizing gay marriage, and then the governor vetoed it because he thought the state should wait until the court handed down its decision?

"Um, did you miss the part where the legislature *did* pass a law legalizing gay marriage, and then the governor vetoed it because he thought the state should wait until the court handed down its decision?"

No I didn't miss that part. But at that point the ill-advised court case was already pending.

Gay marriage already passed the California State Legislature in 2005. It got vetoed by our governor, partially because of an initiative that had passed five years earlier. In California, there's only two ways to overturn an initiative...in the courts, or with an initiative of your own. Sure, an pro-gay marriage initiative that passed would be the best of all worlds, but that's a very hard hurdle to get over (there's extensive evidence that the electorate for initiatives trends more conservative than the state as a whole, many people vote no as a default, etc...). So yeah, they went through the courts. And I hope they do it again. I'd like it if anger over Prop. 8 passing spurred a movement to overturn California's whole screwed up initiative system, but that's probably a pipe dream.

But anyways, try to understand how our system works before you start pontificating about how things "should" have happened.

I don't think the Mormons should be singled out here particularly -- as I understand it, all the Catholic bishops in CA also came out against the measure, for instance.


Volokh has a good rundown of the likely possibilities for those whose marriages are likely to be hit by this.

No I didn't miss that part. But at that point the ill-advised court case was already pending.

So what? The gay marriage measure passed the legislature; gay marriage proponents had done exactly what you say they should have done.

A (perhaps) dumb question:

Why is it ill-advised to appeal to the courts when, in your opinion, the standing law violates your civil rights?

What is better about looking to the legislature for a remedy?

Answers based on principle and pragmatic factors are both welcome.

Thanks -

No I didn't miss that part. But at that point the ill-advised court case was already pending.

Look, Massachusetts got gay marriage through the courts; some backlash materialized, but basically it's become a non-issue. Was there any real reason (other than the moronic ability to amend the state constitution by initiative) to think California was so different?

As the CA Supreme Court justices reminded all the parties: The plebiscite is the supreme law of the People of California. While the Court's Decision is excellent and defensible, even the Court reminded the parties that the Decision could be reversed by plebiscite.

Three people: Mayor Gavin Newsom, Assemblyman Mark Leno, and Geoff of Equality California apparently never studied California civics, and thus when they acted lawlessly -- just like G. W. B. -- and got their hands slapped by plebiscite still don't "get it." Send them your letters of well-wishes, and include a note of what plebiscites are and how they work, and why their Sixties' tactics were a bust.

The decisive factor in passing Prop 8 was almost certainly the financial and political support of LDS Church, which is probably one of the whitest religious communities in the world. It may be consoling for some white lesbian and gay people to blame black voters, but get some perspective.

That is true. However to me the question isn't so much why did Prop 8 pass, but why did it get much more support than the polls predicted. (I don't know what the margins of error are so I'm not even sure the question applies, but let's assume for the sake of argument that it does).

To answer that question you've got to look at what assumptions the pollsters made that might have turned out to be wrong, and it doesn't seem implausible that they underestimated black turnout. If they did, that could be enough to explain the discrepancy.

"Look, Massachusetts got gay marriage through the courts; some backlash materialized, but basically it's become a non-issue. Was there any real reason (other than the moronic ability to amend the state constitution by initiative) to think California was so different?"

Your parenthetical is a pretty big deal, understanding the crucial differences between one situation and another form the basics of good strategy.

One of the main reasons the backlash in Massachusetts didn't reverse the decision was because the legislature was able to block a popular vote on the issue. At that point the voters could either decide to become single issue voters and wield that against their representatives or let it go. They let it go, which is great. But California was different for a number of other reasons

A) CA has an initiative process that makes it very easy to get things on the ballot

B) CA has an established history of taking direct voter action against Court rulings and Court acts of discretion that the populace thinks is taking things too far (See Rose Bird where the action was in removing the judges, or “Three Strikes” where the action was removing the discretion of the judges).

C) CA had already held a very recent initiative on the subject of gay marriage.

Going the court route directly in the face of those factors was bad strategy, especially when there was quite a bit of evidence that a little more time on the legislative side would bear fruit.

Now all the work on the legislative side is wasted and worse than wasted, because the reaction to the court route has made it Constitutionally illegal for the legislature to validate gay marriage.
Furthermore, California is often a trend leader on such issues, especially with high profile things that go through the initiative process. This could very well put the breaks on progress for gay marriage across the country

That was bad strategy.

Now in the long run [we’re all dead] I suspect gay marriage in California will eventually come to pass, but going the Court route--trying to short circuit the democratic procedures--has caused an unnecessary roadblock to that eventuality.

Now if someone wants to argue that this is a great illustration of why direct democracy sucks, I’m all for that discussion.

The initiative system in California has all sorts of problems.
Strangely enough, the biggest problem doesn’t really touch on the gay marriage initiative. One of the biggest problems with CA initiatives is that they rarely touch on the broad policy issues that make sense for a yes or no vote of the whole population. “Should we allow gay marriage” is at least kind of thing you can make an easy yes or no decision on. Most of the things we get initiatives on involve complicated issues where you really should be able to negotiate the details rather than vote simply “yes” or “no”. The rail, energy and victims rights initiatives are classic examples. Is this exact plan worth doing, and remember you only get one vote on the issue every 2 years. I would say that none of those 3 were really good enough to earn a “yes” vote. They all had serious flaws that would have been corrected in a more typical legislative process. And the seemingly endless array of insurance initiatives that pop up are ridiculous. Insurance regulation isn’t the kind of thing where you can usefully use the initiative process to get good policy.

plebiscite

It gives me a tingly feeling when I say that word! What's the next thing you all are gonna vote on?

"A) CA has an initiative process that makes it very easy to get things on the ballot"

Could someone please post a link to (or just quote) something that shows that the California initiative process only works when overturning court decisions and does NOT work when overturning laws passed by the legislature? Because if that is not the case, then it doesn't matter one single bit how gay marriage became legal, ignorant conservative bigots would have overturned it anyway.

What is it with our High School teachers that fails our citizens so much!??!?
OUR GOVT HAS 3 BRANCHES. The courts ARE SUPPOSED TO GET INVOLVED when the Legislature or Executive does something out of line.

Wait, wait! You mean that turning my back on the Republican party, embracing the Democratic party, and voting for Obama, gay rights, and a whole host of progressive policy positions DOESN'T ACTUALLY REQUIRE that I stop blaming the blacks for everything?

Aww, you guys know how to make me feel so welcome!

Ooh, I got a better one. Obama's candidacy increased black voter turnout. Black voter turnout, if viewed in isolation and through a particular lens, defeated gay marriage in California. Obama defeated gay marriage in California!

"Because if that is not the case, then it doesn't matter *one single bit* how gay marriage became legal, ignorant conservative bigots would have overturned it anyway."

You have to cling very deeply to the *one single bit* part of that claim, because the vote was close.

I would strongly suggest that the sense of the judicary going wild makes a difference. In California, non-budgetary initiatives tend to be reactions to legal areas where legislative paralysis has set in but there is a large popular sense for change, where the legal process is well removed from the direct control of the legislature, or in response to inflammatory court decisions.

Quite a few people seem to accept change brought about by the legislature more readily than change brought about by the judiciary, even if they disagree with the change. In fact, I would suggest that in general that is consonant with the proper understanding of the branches of our government.

Is it IMPOSSIBLE that a legislative change would be successfully overturned by initiative? No. But you seem to suggest that it is precisely as likely in the court-decided instance as in the legislative instance.

Good strategy is about minimizing the bad possibilities as much as you can, not eliminating them to some hypothetically perfect level.

"Wait, wait! You mean that turning my back on the Republican party, embracing the Democratic party, and voting for Obama, gay rights, and a whole host of progressive policy positions DOESN'T ACTUALLY REQUIRE that I stop blaming the blacks for everything?"

I was responding with more concrete facts to an issue raised by Ta-Nehisi Coates who is neither white nor Republican. So perhaps you might want to adjust your sanctimony level just a little bit.

Caravelle; That is true. However to me the question isn't so much why did Prop 8 pass, but why did it get much more support than the polls predicted.

The Yes on 8 campaign lied consistently and readily, stepping up their lies at the end of the campaign.

I hear via LGBT Californians that there is considerable feeling that the No on 8 campaign did not make as effective ads and never got ahead of the Yes on 8 lies.

Looked at another way, though: the Yes on 8 campaign, while it did win, had a narrow, expensive victory. In 2000, the anti-marriage amendment got 61% support: in 2008, it got just under 52% (last figures seen). Given that this is a strongly age-correlated issue, the anti-marriage campaigners were pretty much bound to get a demographic drop of 7.32%* (loss of the older homophobes who had died in the interim) but the gap was nearly 2% greater than that.

It's a waiting game: while it's terrible for the LGBT Californians for the next eight years, especially those whose partners or spouses die in that time, it is demographically certain that if a same-sex marriage amendment is on the ballot in 2016, the homophobes will lose. And to find this out, they spent $35M and if there's any justice the LDS Church should now lose its tax-exempt status.

* (every 8 years there's a 12% turnover of voters, UK figures estimate)

A perhaps more serious response- it makes just as much sense to claim that white people defeated gay marriage in California by not turning out to vote in the slightly higher amounts, thereby swamping the votes from the much, much smaller black demographic. These sorts of counterfactuals, where you try to pick out one demographic group from a large, large mixture of groups, are close to useless. Lots of different groups could have voted slightly differently, or in different numbers, and caused a different outcome. Racial lines are an easy line to draw because we can see them, but there are a lot of demographic groups in California. Why not claim that Evangelicals passed Prop 8? I don't have hard data, but I'd be absolutely shocked if Prop 8 still would have passed had Evangelicals voted 54% in favor of gay marriage instead of whatever percentage they undoubtedly voted against. We could do this all day.

It doesn't have a fancy name like "the Bradley effect" but here in Oregon--where the percentage of black voters is too small to be the deciding factor--polls always underestimate the percentage of the anti-gay vote no matter whether the subject is discrimination in marriage, housing, employment, education or whatever.

We've had a lot of those votes over the last 20 years and in every one of them the polls indicated significantly less support for anti-gay measures than was evidenced in the actual vote.

I think it's ridiculous to blame that same phenomenon in CA on black people.

As to the success of the measure itself, yes, blacks do tend to be disproportionately anti-gay, but subsuming Mormons into the overall "white" vote is one of those misuses of statistics that falls on the scale past "damn lies". And it is certainly true that Prop 8 organization and financing was heavily Mormon, not African-American or even Catholic. The Catholic Church is always on the anti-gay side but even they did not issue a "fatwa" on Prop 8 the way the LDS hierarchy did.

I did my own calculations and I found that yes, if blacks voted the same as whites, the prop would have failed. That being, said, if blacks voted just as they did (overwhelmingly in favor of Prop 8) but came out in their usual numbers to vote (6.5 rather than the 10 percent they did this election), the Prop still would have passed.

Here's my analysis:
Basically, in general, whites were just barely against Prop 8 (49-51) while Latinos were just barely for Prop 8, but by a little more (53-47). But blacks were 70-30 in favor of prop 8.

BUT, and this it the big BUT, blacks were only 10 percent of the vote (while whites are 63% and Latinos are 18%--everybody else was pretty much split 50-50).

And, now here's where it gets interesting. According to the exit poll, the final overall split was 51.88 (for) to 49.12 (against). So, if the blacks had voted the same as the latinos (53% in favor), it still would have just passed 50.18 (for) to 49.82 (against).


BUT, if blacks had voted in the same way as whites (just barely against Prop 8), the measure would have just barely failed 49.78 (for) to 50.22 (against).

Now that I've done this, I realize this isn't really the answer to your question. What if blacks voted on Prop 8 in the same proportion (70-30) BUT they turned out at the percentage they normally would turn out. I did research and blacks in California generally turn out at about 6.5 percent (rather than the 10 percent they turned out in this election).

SOOOOOO, if we calculate blacks turning out and their normal percentage, the end result would be Prop 8 would still be 51.21 (for) to 48.79 (against).

So, basically, the CONCLUSION is:

Getting more blacks out to vote did not affect the outcome of Prop 8. If, however, blacks were less anti-gay marriage, the Prop could have been Voted NO and would have failed.

Interesting, eh? All this being said, this was all of exit poll numbers, so all these things are pretty close, but I think my conclusion basically still stands.

Patrick --

I don't disagree with your defense. You say that if less Evangelicals voted for 8 then it wouldn't have passed, so why single out blacks? I think the black vote is getting so much attention because many people view 8 as a civil rights issue and, rightfully or wrongfully, had an expectation that blacks would too.

I think the interesting thing about this is that Obama won handily in the state. I hear a lot of blame given to the Mormons and conservatives-but it appears that a lot of democratic voters are the ones to blame for the initiative passing.

I don't know necessarily about racial breakdowns, but I also know a lot of GOP voters in California that voted "no" on the initiative-so not all conservatives were voting "yes" on the issue.

I think the reality here is that there is a huge constituency within the democratic party that is anti gay or at least anti gay marriage. Makes me think the blame should be laid just as much at their feet as that of conservatives.

And to be honest-while I don't agree with the Catholic and Mormon and several other churches on the issue-I think they had every right to take a position on it and advocate their cause.

As for propositions and ballot initiatives-in general other than bond issues I really don't think they belong on ballots. I think that is why we elect legislators so they can debate the issue and hopefully work out the various kinks and problem areas when they consider passing this kind of law.

Honestly, I don't think the LDS church or the Catholics would have suddenly backed off if Schwarzenegger had signed the gay marriage bill - they just would have run ads about out-of-touch legislators instead of out-of-touch judges. And they still would have preached about it Sunday morning, two days before the election.

Here's what I am worried about: the lawsuits on gay marriage getting up to the federal level. It's going to take decades to reverse the messes we'll get from the SCOTUS.

I did my own calculations and I found that yes, if blacks voted the same as whites, the prop would have failed. That being, said, if blacks voted just as they did (overwhelmingly in favor of Prop 8) but came out in their usual numbers to vote (6.5 rather than the 10 percent they did this election), the Prop still would have passed.

That gets rid of my argument that polls underestimated black turnout. I'll go with doretta's theory then.

It ties historic electoral enthusiasm among Black voters to an anti-gay proposal put forth by white evangelical conservatives and strongly suggests that anticipated strong voter turnout among African-Americans will have a negative impact on the advancement of LGBT equality. This theme negates the fact that the marriage repeal effort is being lead and funded by white conservatives including leaders within the Mormon Church who have never been supporters of issues that benefit African-Americans and have instead simply seen Black people as a monolithic mass only useful as a constituency to be targeted with fear, lies and anti-gay spin. In similar ways white conservatives have sought to stoke tensions between Black and Latino people as a way of building support for anti-immigrant measures under the guise that providing legal rights and social services to undocumented workers will mean fewer opportunities for African-Americans.

The writer of the article seems to forget that whites are a majority of voters in the state and that if the amendment to strip marriage away from same-sex couples is successful it will be because a lot of white voters voted against equal treatment under the law for gay couples. It is true that a majority of Black and Latino voters may end up voting against us on marriage, but according to the Public Policy Institute of California Black voters account for about 6% of voters in most statewide elections and Latino voters account for roughly 15% of votes cast. Together Black and Latino voters account for about 21% percent of votes. Even if every Black and Latino voter votes for Proposition 8, 21% of the vote is not nearly enough for the anti-gay amendment to pass. It would still need strong support from white voters.

More:
http://www.bilerico.com/2008/09/black_voters_not_to_blame_if_proposition.php

Numbers don't lie. Without the black vote, Prop 6 would have failed. And truth-be-told, I don't find that particularly surprising. In my long life, the most openly homophobic people I've encountered (at work, in college, at more than one social function) have been black. You can take that with a big grain of salt. But now it's official; as a whole, blacks are at least as bigoted toward gays as Republicans are. Numbers don't lie.

As for Obama, I supported him, and don't regret that. But I feel like such a schmuck for getting swept up (if only for an hour or two last night) in the turning-a-page, "history-making" zeitgeist over Obama's victory. Obama has shown as much spine in his opposition to antigay bigotry as Bill Clinton did a dozen years ago--which is to say, not much spine. Of course Obama is careful to add "gays" to his standard stump line about inclusiveness. Clinton did to, which shows you how empty those words have become. Bottom line, I'll definitely be bowing out of the celebrations and happy-talk among my lib friends, at least for now. Yes. We. Can. My. Ass.

Numbers don't lie. Without the black vote, Prop 6 would have failed. And truth-be-told, I don't find that particularly surprising. In my long life, the most openly homophobic people I've encountered (at work, in college, at more than one social function) have been black. You can take that with a big grain of salt. But now it's official; as a whole, blacks are at least as bigoted toward gays as Republicans are. Numbers don't lie.

As for Obama, I supported him, and don't regret that. But I feel like such a schmuck for getting swept up (if only for an hour or two last night) in the turning-a-page, "history-making" zeitgeist over Obama's victory. Obama has shown as much spine in his opposition to antigay bigotry as Bill Clinton did a dozen years ago--which is to say, not much spine. Of course Obama is careful to add "gays" to his standard stump line about inclusiveness. Clinton did to, which shows you how empty those words have become. Bottom line, I'll definitely be bowing out of the celebrations and happy-talk among my lib friends, at least for now. Yes. We. Can. My. Ass.

and if there's any justice the LDS Church should now lose its tax-exempt status.

Um, why? And what about the Catholics? And every other religious denomination that supported prop 8? And what about the opponents? Frex, the Courage Campaign?

I hear via LGBT Californians that there is considerable feeling that the No on 8 campaign did not make as effective ads and never got ahead of the Yes on 8 lies.

Go look for yourself. Both websites are fully accessible. I think the No on 8 folks did themselves in with the Courage Campaign's attack on the LDS Church. Political discussion is one thing. That one ad was just wrong.

If Sebastian was being sincere, he would be blaming Christianity for California's bigotry. I suspect; one's relationship to certain types of Christian beliefs and practices (ie, conservative theologies) was a bigger factor, than race...Evangelical Asians were more likely than there Buddhist counterparts to express homophobia.

Daniel, I was actually pleased with Obama's prominent mention of gay people in his acceptance speech. Democrats seem to almost studiously avoid mentioning us in major speeches of that type, and Republicans tend either not to mention us at all or they do so negatively, so it is a little step in the right direction.

so it is a little step in the right direction

Which Clinton took, and then some.

I understand the criticism he gets for not pushing far enough with the integration of gays into the military, but he put the issue in the spotlight in a big way. Sometimes, that's enough to get the ball rolling and it's unrealistic to think that more and faster progress is always politically feasible.

He went where no previous CinC has gone, and for this he is criticized?

"I understand the criticism he gets for not pushing far enough with the integration of gays into the military, but he put the issue in the spotlight in a big way."

Clinton get criticized for making the situation worse--Don't Ask Don't Tell caused more discharges from the military than the Reagan-Bush policies which preceeded it. He also gets criticized for pretending that he couldn't do it without Congressional approval when he had the legal ability to do so. And then he also gets criticism for signing the Defense of Marriage Act and campaigning on it.

And it is true that I didn't listen to all of the Clinton speeches, but did he really mention gays in a positive way (i.e. not DOMA) in a speech as major as an acceptance speech? SOTU maybe?

Ah, America's favorite political pastime: scapegoating black people.

"Ah, America's favorite political pastime: scapegoating black people."

Actually I believe America's favorite bipartisan pastime is almost certainly ignoring arguments by pigeon-hole dismissing the messenger.

Actually, Patrick, I think you're pretty much right about Obama being significantly at fault for Prop 8's passage. Obama based a large part of his appeal on his personal religiosity and was consistently against same-sex marriage. Now, he tried to talk about of both sides of his mouth on the issue while fundraising in San Francisco, but the fact is that both he and Joe Biden consistently stated that they both thought marriage was something that should only exist in an opposite-sex relationship. I think it's clear that this is not actually how Obama feels, but he's been careful to "let that be known" without actually reversing his overtly discriminatory stance on the issue. What's more, he reached out to mobilize churches, particularly Black and Latino churches, as ready-made units of community organizations within the Black and Latino communities across the country. Unsurprisingly, church-centric people tend to be socially conservative, and therefore tend to blur the distinction between their religion's condemnation of homosexuality with the purely civic issue of same-sex relationships.

Some people seem to be more than a little bit taken aback that Black voters, despite being overwhelmingly Democratic in partisan registration, are nevertheless much more socially conservative than they had assumed. Or they assumed that someone who voted for Obama would necessarily be politically (and therefore socially) liberal. These assumptions are not borne out by reality, and it is not racist to dissect this phenomenon, despite the implications of some of the commenters here.

Andrew Sullivan's column blaming black California voters is offensive, and illustrates the very phenomenon Jes talks about in her first comment.

From the moment Prop. 8 made it onto the ballot, it should have been obvious to those working to oppose it that they would need to take into account the increased black vote in outreach for the 'no' campaign. I saw very little evidence that this happened, but I'm three thousand miles away.

The most effective argument I can imagine would have been built around the simple fact that Barack Obama opposes proposition 8. That message would not have threatened Obama's chances in California at all. Possibly the Obama campaign made it known they'd prefer not to risk the message leaking out into Nevada. If so, human rights campaigners should have nodded and then politely ignored the pressure.

Its existence was in response to what I thought was a poor strategic decision on the part of gay rights advocates—to take the faster court route rather than plodding through the legislature for a few more years.

I find that argument nonsensical. You could make the same argument against all civil rights rulings including Loving v. Virginia which made it unconstitutional for states to deny interracial marriages.

I see no reason to believe that any legislature would move towards extending rights to gay people. In fact, all evidence shows that legislators across the country are prone to restricting gay rights, not expanding them, because the constituency hostile to gays is larger than the gay constituency.

Civil Unions became a fact in Vermont in 2000 thanks to a court decision against strong public opposition. Gay marriage is the law in Massachusetts and Connecticut for the same reason. We now have some form of legal recognition for gay unions in a dozen states including California. Even the Yes on 8 campaign cited "civil unions" positively because they knew that running explicitly against gay unions was a loser.

That fact would have been inconceivable 8 years ago.

"Actually I believe America's favorite bipartisan pastime is almost certainly ignoring arguments by pigeon-hole dismissing the messenger."

An ironic comment by someone who is carefully avoiding making an actual argument, leaving everyone up to their own devices to guess what he's implying, and then using the ambiguity to shield himself when people conclude that he's implying something unpleasant.

"What does this mean for black people, gay people and California in general? I have no idea."

"I see no reason to believe that any legislature would move towards extending rights to gay people."

California itself had a legislature moving that direction, so I think you have a reason to believe it.

"An ironic comment by someone who is carefully avoiding making an actual argument, leaving everyone up to their own devices to guess what he's implying, and then using the ambiguity to shield himself when people conclude that he's implying something unpleasant."

What PRECISELY do you conclude that is unpleasant. Please be clear.

I use the term 'human rights' advisedly, because many African-Americans are put off by LGBT struggles being characterized as civil rights campaigns. I think they are, you might think they are, but a six-month election campaign is not the environment in which that discussion and educational process can be undertaken productively.

Huffily asserting a la Andrew Sullivan that black voters are denying civil rights to others that they fought for for themselves is pointlessly divisive. But neither is there any need to back off the truth that same-sex marriage is a human rights issue for lesbians and gay men, black and white.

The process that brought public attitudes to where they are today is the same one that will work with black voters: men and women coming out and coming forward, forcing people to replace the stereotypes in their head with real people -- sons and daughters, co-workers, church members, cousins...

Sullivan's idea of Acting Up on homophobia-promoting black churches is the worst imaginable way to go at it, particularly in the arrogant delusion that white activists would be doing so "on behalf of" black lesbians and gay men:

The black church is one of the most powerful forces fomenting homophobia in America, and has fostered attitudes that have literally killed countless gay black men. It's time to Act Up against those elements that p.c. liberals have been too timid to confront. For the sake of African American gay and lesbian people as much as anyone else.

In fairness, in other posts, Sullivan lets go of understandable anger long enough to see that the struggle is ultimately going to won because of person-to-person change.

I've quietly foreseen exactly this outcome and post-election acrimony for months, just as much as I've dreaded the announcement of Obama's cabinet members. Need to go have another stiff drink.

"What PRECISELY do you conclude that is unpleasant. Please be clear."

I concluded that you were singling out black people for blame for the passage of Prop 8, obviously. Its the same conclusion reached by dozens of other people in this comment thread. I'd term that "unpleasant" because there are plenty of other demographic divides besides racial that make more sense to investigate, and because...

Oh, why bother. Obviously the OP had a line in it at the end disclaiming the idea that you were concluding anything at all. You were merely... remarking. Just as if I were to merely remark that its odd that, in regards to an issue in which religious lines predicted voting outcomes to an extreme level, people are still looking to see whether it was really somehow the fault of black voters. That would just be... a remark, right? What it means, I don't know.

Actually I was responding with specific facts to a query made by a black blogger. See how easy it is when you just ask?

No you weren't.

I don't know whether you were responding to someone, or whether that someone was an African American blogger, but you weren't responding to anything written by Coates in the thread you linked.

mikeyC writes:
According to the exit poll, the final overall split was 51.88 (for) to 49.12 (against). So, if the blacks had voted the same as the latinos (53% in favor), it still would have just passed 50.18 (for) to 49.82 (against).

I find it remarkable that mikeyC's comment is the only place in this whole thread in which "the way whites voted" is not seen as some kind of standard for how blacks ought to have. I think a lot of the annoyance in response to this post comes from the fact that it's based on an implicit argument that blacks should have voted differently. They should have, but so should 45% of white voters, 53% of Latinos, etc. The same kind of assumption is behind just me's comment that:

it appears that a lot of democratic voters are the ones to blame for the initiative passing. I don't know necessarily about racial breakdowns, but I also know a lot of GOP voters in California that voted "no" on the initiative-so not all conservatives were voting "yes" on the issue.

This doesn't make any sense to me. Why are conservatives voting "yes" not "to blame" while Democrats voting "yes" are? The fact that some conservatives voted "no" is evidence that it's an issue that cuts across party lines, not that "no" is a vote that should be expected from all Democrats while conservatives are off the hook because, hey, they're conservative, so they should be congratulated for any "no" votes they are big enough to throw our way.

What's offensive about the way in which black voters have been singled out is the implied "should" in comparing the black vote with the white vote, which both singles blacks out as the group that voted "incorrectly" and, relative to them, excuses the whites and anyone else whose "yes" votes were also essential to Prop 8's passing. Where's the comparable sense that Catholics (who were the objects of pervasive discrimination themselves earlier in the century) and conservatives (who are supposed to be for limited government, right?) have failed to vote as they "should" have? Or that 55% of the white vote simply isn't good enough, even if 31% of the black vote is clearly even worse?

earlier in the century

That would be the previous century, not the early Aughts. I keep forgetting to flip my millenium.

By comparing the black vote with the white vote for your analysis, you're being more than a little disingenuous. How about an analysis showing what would have happened had African Americans voted with the second most bigoted (and much larger) voting bloc -- Latinos?

If African Americans had voted with Latinos, 53 percent yes, 47 percent no, the measure still would have passed 50.4 to 49.6.

"I use the term 'human rights' advisedly, because many African-Americans are put off by LGBT struggles being characterized as civil rights campaigns."

A misconception is that Loving v Virginia is about racial equality. It's not. It's about sexual liberty.

Virginia's miscegenation law discriminated against both Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving. It denied both of them the liberty to marry the person of their choice.

Gay marriage has rightly been compared to Loving v Virginia, but in the misunderstanding of what civil rights issues are actually addressed by Loving, gay marriage has erroneously been equated to the fight for racial equality.

Through out our country's history, the definition of citizen expanded; from white, male, property owner to the more expansive vision of citizenship we have today. But equality is not the only measure of a nation's freedom. Equality means nothing without liberty.

"It's what the Governor told them to do. He was going to veto every bill that got past."

And quite appropriately so; As noted by Kerry, under the California constitution, the legislature is not entitled to repeal the results of initiatives by legislation. And every Executive I've ever heard of, (I doubt California's is any different.) has a duty to uphold and defend their constitution.

It was the Gubinator's duty to veto those bills. They violated the state constitution.

Tony, however you choose to interpret the significance of Loving v. Virginia, it's indisputably a civil rights case to most people, including the Lovings themselves. Not sure you're in a position to declare that an interpretation different from yours, no matter how widely held, is a misconception.

Mildred Loving saw the connection with same-sex marriage in an interview shortly before her death. Somewhere on an ObWi thread there was a link to it -- maybe from Gary. Maybe even from me; my mind is going.

"however you choose to interpret the significance of Loving v. Virginia, it's indisputably a civil rights case to most people,"

I didn't say it wasn't a civil rights case.

All your assumptions are wrong, as are mikeyC's figures. stop playing with percentages and use the real numbers:

1. african americans made up 10% of the ~10 million votes cast; with a 70/30 split, this means ~700k african americans voted for inequality. well so did ~970k latinos and ~432k asians/others; the margin we lost by is currently at ~427,000. so why not say we lost because of those asian/others? (cuz that's wrong too)

2. even if african americans voted like "enlightened" whites did, 49% yes to 51% no, we would have lost by ~220k votes.

3. what about people 65 or older? ~945k voted for inequality; white and 65 or older? ~672k voted for inequality. So is this not as much generational as about race?

4. the split between yes and no was most extreme along party lines with 81% of republicans, or ~2.27 million, voting for inequality. the number among white republicans? also 81% or ~1.86 million voting for inequality. ideology played a far more significant role than race.

i am deeply disappointed with the results of the prop 8 ballot, but i don't understand why andrew sullivan and others continue to want to lay this at the feet of african americans; do we want to run rove's wedge politics just for old times?

if we are going to win future battles, we need to diagnose the loss properly. clearly,due to the role certain christian churches have played in african american communities, there is deep homophobia therein; the same can be said for latinos and catholicism. religion is the primary culprit here, not race, and this dovetails with the secondary culprit, republican conservatism, as evidenced by the numbers. if we want to harp on african americans because of the irony of a once legally discriminated against group supporting legal discrimination against another group, that's fine, but that will only get us intellectual kudos. if we want to win, african american preachers like... ah rev. wright.... who welcome openly gay and lesbian members into their congregations and preach against homophobia as a form of hatred, need to be engaged... and latino pastors.... and white pastors. it would also help if white gay and lesbian people would open their eyes to the racism within the lgbt community and start engaging with communities of color on points of conflict in urban areas like gentrification, employment, mass incarceration and political representation. selectively pointing fingers is not a good way to start off.

saddened but not defeated,
g.ken patton


Despite a quite inappropriate use of ellipsis and period in the middle of sentences (just use ellipsis! three dots only! Periods only go at the end of sentences, it's that simple!), and a grievous lack of capitalization, and my own lack of focus as yet on this issue, I'm inclined to agree with what g.ken. patton summarized.

The word "scapegoat" springs sadly to mind. And to make black folks the thing is sad in this week. You could do better, Sebastian.

I'm responding to a post and the comments in it. Read them please.

-thank you.

When in doubt, blame black people.

Your Republican party at work.

Enjoy your vacation in the moral and metaphorical desert. You've earned it.

wow gary farber... orthography + wit = sexy. i'll let e.e. cummings know about that caps thing and i'll be sure to take my sticky keyboard into the shop just to i can write you a letter...

Mildred Loving saw the connection with same-sex marriage in an interview shortly before her death. Somewhere on an ObWi thread there was a link to it -- maybe from Gary. Maybe even from me; my mind is going.

I wrote a post on this back in May, comparing a card marriage to a human marriage to a Loving marriage. It would make me very happy if the kind of marriages the anti- crowd recommend ("A gay man can TOO get married! He can marry a woman!") were referred to as card marriages in the future.

now_what: When in doubt, blame black people.

Your Republican party at work.

To be fair, it's not just the right-wing gay crowd that's blaming black people because the anti-marriage amendment passed. There's a lot of knee-jerk racism all over the place on this, and it's both saddening and enraging.

Dudes, in the *purely* hypothetical case of dealing with a gay right-winger, please recall that you're dealing with somebody who has serious cognitive disconnects. If, again speaking purely hypothetically, this gay right-winger is also a known corporate lawyer, please remember that these 'cognitive disconnects' are his stock in trade, and that he's paid well to produce them by the hundreds of pages.

In such a hypothetical case, it's probably best to recall:

DNFTEC

Prop. 22 made it impossible to go just through the legislature/governor route. Laws passed by ballot initiative can't be overturned by legislature, but require another ballot initiative. See Volokh on this - it was pretty clear that even if the Gov had signed the legislature's law, it wouldn't be valid. So Prop 22 meant that the only way gay marriage was going to pass w/o court intervention was by ballot initiative. Once this was the case, having the Supreme Court decision gave gay marriage advocates structural advantages that they would not have in pressing an initiative to overturn Prop 22: 1) the negative side has an inherent advantage, 2) the ballot name "eliminating rights", and 3) the existence of 4 months of marriages, 18000 couples that did not cause the sky to fall. These weren't enough in the end but I think it's reasonable to think they outweighed judicial activism arguments.

I think that there are some clear facts about Prop 8 and its passage that we have to accept.

Yes, it did pass partly due to a 2 to 1 support in the black community in california (higher than both the latino and white communities in California).

Yes, the black vote surged in CA 50% (6.7% to 10% of the vote).

Yes, the fact we had an African American at the top of the Democratic ticket for President increased participation among African Americans in this year's election.

Yes, the black vote cannot alone determine the outcome of Prop 8.

OK, here is what I believe. Yes, African Americans helped Prop 8 pass and I think that our Pres-elect could have changed that. I think that if Obama would have done a PSA like Sen Feinstein, we might have had a different outcome today on Prop 8, but I believe that Sen Obama ran a tightly controlled campaigned designed in many ways to avoid getting trapped in major "wedge" issues. That may have been necessary for his campaign to succeed and to avoid appearing like an "angry black man" but on some level, we may have missed an opportunity at even more inclusiveness.

I think there is an intellectual fallacy to say that it is "unfair" to single out the "black" vote and not also mention LDS or Catholics or Evangelicals unless there was also a corresponding 50% increase in the LDS vote, Catholic vote or Evangelical vote for this election. If that data can be shown, then I will totally agree that the black vote isn't the crux of Prop 8's passage. I will watch this board for that data.

That all being said, I think that "blaming" the black vote is disengenious because it means that the No on 8 team did a superlative job in reaching out to the California voters and understanding how the vote demographics would come out in this election. I feel that Pres-elect Obama carries some of the responsibility for not speaking out decisively and repeatedly against Prop 8 and for generally opposing gay marriage (same for Joe Biden). I also feel that the No on Prop 8 organization was just unprepared for the fight and that the vile, "gays as child predators", implicit message of the yes on Prop 8 suppports was not anticipated and dealt with in advance. We have faced this old canard many times in the past. Basically, the Yes on Prop 8 team took into account the changing demographics of this year's election and developed a winning strategy to get this thing passed.

That being said.... There is a lot of positive things to be taken from our experiences on Tuesday...

1. Only 8 yrs after California last voted on gay marriage, we have gone from losing by a 60/40 margin to a 52/48 margin. We are definitely winning the battle for equality and it is only a matter of time before we have equality for all.

2. We have elected our first African American President to be the most powerful man in the world in a country that does not define itself by its ethnicity but rather by its ideals. There is no way to underestimate the importance this holds for the world and for history.

3. Gays and lesbians have become more integraed into mainstream society than ever before. Bill Clinton was the first Presidential candidate and President that ever talked about gays and lesbians as normal members of society (in my life as a voter) and now Pres-Elect Obama mentioned gays and lesbians in many of his stump speeches.

4. The long road for equality for both ethnic and social minorities in the US is still a work in progress but we are moving forward on it.

Its existence was in response to what I thought was a poor strategic decision on the part of gay rights advocates—to take the faster court route rather than plodding through the legislature for a few more years. I thought that going through the courts was likely to produce a backlash that would make gay marriage ultimately take longer to get than if we stuck to the California legislature and governor.

Please. I wish proponents of this "backlash" theme would try to inform themselves about what court action has actually produced in this country. By establishing gay marriage in places like Connecticut, it has provided a moral and symbolic examples to those who'd like to do the same in other states and helped to humanize the people gay people who wish to marry, far more effectively than advocacy campaigns ever could.


Since you're citing the numbers, you realize how close this vote was, right? 47.5 percent of Californians think gay marriage is okay; should advocates wait until expert polling establishes that 50% + 1 of voters support this measure? Or 55%, just to be safe?

And no one should be asked to delay the vindication of their rights in court. Some of us actually believe that gay marriage is a right, and aren't really prepared to wait until enough homophobes die off so that gay marriage becomes acceptable.

Hey Patrick, you're completely wrong. Numerous other people, notably Dan Savage (cited by Coates) raised the issue of whether disproportionate voting for Prop 8 by black California voters was the decisive factor in voting the measure in. TNC responded with a post conceding that African-Americans are generally more anti-gay than the average American, but saying that this doesn't violate any expectation of solidarity on the part of minorities suffering discrimination because, in his view, oppression isn't ennobling so there should be no expectation of solidarity. Sebastian then responded to that with a post arguing that unless black turnout was exceptionally high, it probably didn't actually make the difference in approving Prop 8.

I've never liked the term "political correctness", but the way you're writing here fits the bill exactly. You're excluding a perfectly normal topic from discussion, and implying that those who discuss it suffer from subconscious racism.

Blacks pushed Prop 8 over the top. Period. Stop excusing anti-gay bigotry.

But the broader issue is heterosexuals. Heterosexuals are not gay people's authority. Okay. Everytime GAY rights come up for a vote HETEROSEXUALS vote them down. It doesn't matter the issue heterosexuals will always take away or deny gay people's rights. The fact is heterosexuals believe they are better than gay people, deserve more rights, should have an advantage in all areas of life and dictate what gay people can do. Maybe it will change yet I doubt it since it's gone on for millenia.

I'm reaching back a bit in the thread, but I feel I must share my perspective on the Massachusetts experience.

I am a proud, pro-gay-marriage citizen of Massachusetts who followed, in detail, the progress of the anti-gay-marriage amendment through the MA amendment process. With all due respect, Sebastian, saying that "the legislature was able to block a popular vote on the issue" doesn't remotely do justice to what happened, even if there is a level on which it might be technically true.

The bar that a citzen-initiated (rather than legislative) amendment to the MA constitution has to pass is (in a political sense) almost absurdly low - all it needs is 1/4 of the legislature in two consecutive sessions.

*By design* a mere legislative majority cannot block a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment in MA. Instead the purpose of the legislature's involvement is twofold:

1. By requiring votes in two consecutive legislative sessions, the amendment requires that a constitutional amendment be deliberated over a period of time. IIRC, this period is 2-4 years. The earliest a Goodridge-driven amendment could have gotten to the ballot is 2006 assuming aggressive legislative scheduling (which, of course, implies a supportive legislative leadership).

The first attempt along those lines was a legislative amendment which has a higher legislative bar, (two successive simple majorities instead of two consecutive 1/4 votes), but also has the advantage that you don't have to gather signatures. That attempt failed on a razor-thin vote (I don't recall whether that was on the first or second hurdle). With the two citizen amendment votes, the entire process included 3-4 legislative votes over 3 years.

2. The one quarter of the legislature requirement is a filter for obviously bad ideas. If you can't persuade one quarter of the people's elected representatives to vote for something twice, it shouldn't be a constitutional amendment.

That being said, the Massachusetts legislature has an ugly track record on citizen-initiated constitutional amendments - voting to adjourn (a simple majority) to unconstitutionally prevent them from making it on the ballot (instead of the 1/4 vote). I believe there is a state court case that specifically found that process unconstitutional (pushed by a health-care amendment group as well as the anti-gay groups). Unfortunately, the court also concluded it wasn't empowered to enforce that state constitutional provision.

However, none of that was the case for the anti-gay-marriage amendment. A "right to health care" amendment went down on a vote to adjourn and, for safety, many gay rights supporters wanted the legislature to use the same tactics on the anti-marriage amendment. In this case, however, the amendment votes were totally above-board. In the first session, it passed the 1/4 requirement easily (though, as I recall, there were close fights on scheduling and process). In the second, after a number of anti-gay legislators had lost and the state's political leadership (the new governor, speaker and senate majority leader) banded together, it failed to get the 50 votes out of 200 required.

So, yes, the legislature blocked gay marriage - but only in the context of a 3-year political process that was watched and debated across the state. Citizens went to their representatives with their stories. Often, actual families with same-sex partners changed people's minds. They certainly opened the eyes of many conservative legislators. There were impassioned speeches by openly gay members of our "General Court". I could be wrong, but I don't think there are any MA legislative seats that have become more anti-gay-rights in the 3 elections since Goodridge. Even if I've missed a few seats somewhere, they were heavily outnumbered by the seats that moved in the other direction (via both persuasion and the ballot box)

And before you blame Democratic partisanship for the legislative result, I will point out that there were more than enough conservative Democrats (i.e. Republicans in many other states) to join with the Republican minority to advance the amendment had they been convinced to do so. Beyond that, there were several prominent MA Republicans (including, IIRC, the MA Senate Minority Leader) who were against the anti-gay-marriage amendment because MA Republicans tend to be moderate and socially libertarian. [snark] I wonder if any of those MA Republicans lost their national party membership over their support for gay marriage [/snark].

I view the gay marriage debate in MA as a shining example of how a polity should consider and debate the merits of modifying their constitution in response to an unexpected judicial interpretation. The contrast with the California experience, in my opinion, couldn't be more stark. California had two groups of partisans throwing ads at each other, but no genuine discussion and debate. I suppose the discussion and debate are another benefit of requiring the legislature to be involved in the amendment process.

Beyond that, I view it as the greatest democratic validation of same-sex marriage. In the end there were 45 yeas and 151 nays (out of 200 possible). Has there been a bigger margin in any other elected body? I don't think that this validation is diminished because the process started with a court decision.

I'd hope that I would be big enough to feel that way if things had gone the other way in a fair manner (e.g. no lies and deception), but my gut tells me I wouldn't. On the other hand, my head tells me that California would be better off if their state constitution was more like that of Massachusetts (and not just on the issue of gay marriage). John Adams does good work. In the meantime, I'm happy I live in Massachusetts and not California, so my wife and I do not have to contemplate divorcing on principle.

The anti-gay-marriage crowd hasn't gone away in Massachusetts. But they are becoming more and more marginalized. The most recent amendment drive (that would have banned marriages *and* civil unions) didn't even meet its signature threshold (let alone the legislative one).

I will close by saying I just realized that what I felt the evening of November 3rd was actually familiar. The last time I can recall having that feeling: June 14th, 2007. Go here if you want some of the details.

Hello Stephanie,

I heard on your radio show today that many in California are upset about the black community's vote regarding Proposition 8 and have largely blamed that community's vote for its failure. What I find so disingenuous about the (predominantly) white gay community, is that the moment where they "need" the black community, there's this effusion of emotion and discussion of "unity", "healing", and other words you rarely hear.

I think this has identified the rarely spoken, but ugly secret within the gay community - it's probably more notoriously than in the greater white community at-large. I'm sorry, but as much as I disagree with Prop 8, I feel no urgency to support it with the same zeal as others in the white gay community state they need us. It's an honest statement to say that the road to the greater black community is to start talking to the smaller, but critical gay black community.

Did you know there are two gay prides in the community? Did you know that communities are very much aligned by ethnicity so when there's this "call for unity" when it comes to politics, the white majority gay community simply isn't going to garner the same response from other minority communities until a clear and inclusive dialogue can happen with gay communities of color and gay community at large. Until the greater white community can face it's racist tendencies, often classified as "inherent preferences" , you'll never achieve the foot soldiers needed from other communities of color, particularly the black gay community, to talk effectively to the greater black communities regarding issues like Prop 8.

I've continually read that white gay leaders are "shocked" by the black communities response to Prop 8. Well I'm not at all. As with any other political issue, although it might seem there's a natural proclivity for political alliance. However, those needed to evangelize the political message are still searching for fences to be mended.

Sebastian -

Interesting post but I have to disagree with your conclusion that black voters ultimately were responsible for passing it. I did my own analysis on CNN's exit polls and concluded that:

* even if black voters had come to the polls in a number proportionate to the population (i.e. if Obama had not drawn additional black voters), the measure would still have passed

* both in absolute numbers and in percentage points, more "yes" votes on Proposition 8 came from Latinos than from blacks -- and of course most of the votes by far came from whites

You are correct when you say that if blacks had voted for Prop 8 in the same proportion as whites, the measure would have failed. It's also true that if 15% of the white votes in favor of the measure had been switched to "no" votes, it would have failed. I'm not sure that hypotheticals like these teach us anything about what happened since we have no way of knowing how we would get to those totals. What does seem clear is that gay rights advocates need to learn to do a much better job of outreach to urban working-class communities.

I live in Northern California, and while the black community may have supported Prop 8 for Biblical reasons, I did not. I grew up an atheist.

There's been a lot of sneering by the gay community about how unstable heteresexual marriages are with a view to justifying inclusion of gays in the institution as in we can't do any worse than you guys...

Identity crisis is not to be dismissed so lightly. While I do not feel homosexuality is aberrant, and in fact feel most of us fall somewhere on the bisexual continuum, as a nominally heterosexual woman, I feel women have a lot to lose in more "progress" being foisted on us, including the "one size fits all marriage."

Through personal experience I know that free love, objectification of female body (FREE SPEECH PORNOGRAPHY)and glorification of sex as the "ultimate freedom" that we've been mercilessly subjected to since the 60's has not served us well. Sex out of context of some warm relationship is a horror - except perhaps when its openly transanctional like in prostitution. I wouldn't know.

The manic support for all abortion falls in the same category - enabling sex for sex' sake at any age. And how has ease of divorce benefitted women overall? Why by turning millions of us into struggling single moms (unsupported by exes), you get the drift.....

I feel lesbians have opted out of sisterhood. I feel gay men are predominantly and ultimately - men with privileges like all men.

It is a small world. Hindus burn brides and marry new ones for their dowry. In other countries Muslims have multiple wives but LDS polygamists are hunted in Texas and elsewhere........

Yes, many heteros do not procreate within marriage. My kid tells me everyday how much his generation hates boomers because of the 4:1 ratio and burden we're leaving them with...

Given that most of the prior posts are incredibly lucid and legally eloquent - can someone explain to me why I shouldn't worry that gay marriage may lead to multiple marriage, to underage marriage and ????? in the near future..........???????? Understanding that this woman does not feel "we've come a long way, baby."

I have yet to here an argument for how "plodding through the legislature" would work when a previous initiative prevented the legislature from acting. Jeebus.

Without trying to blame anyone (hell, everyone should vote the "right" way, right?), the fact remains that African-Americans are the most anti-gay group identified in the CNN exit poll, other than Republicans and conservatives. Lots of liberals don't like having this pointed out, I suppose because it damages the idea of one big happy house of progressivism, where everyone is mutually supportive and there are only disagreements about tactics, not ends, but them's the facts. A large majority of African-Americans would just as soon I disappeared, or died, or repented, or something. Doesn't change my views on African-American civil rights -- I just know the feeling won't be reciprocated.

Now, what does this tell us about strategy going forward? Approximately nothing, I'm guessing. This was close enough that four or eight years of demographic change could change the result. I'm guessing that, if you want to find persuadable voters, the African-American community would be about as hospitable as prospecting in white Evangelical churches or the LDS church, and for pretty much the same reason.

Don K: the fact remains that African-Americans are the most anti-gay group identified in the CNN exit poll, other than Republicans and conservatives.

...that's a really big "other", isn't it.

Republicans and conservatives are anti-gay. Also, mostly white.

The LDS Church, possibly the whitest church in the world, funded and campaigned against Proposition 8.

White-white-white evangelical Christian organisations which historically were always against civil rights, interracial marriage, and the like, funded and campaigned against Proposition 8.

Most of all, of course, the problem was just bigoted straight people.

So who do we see the majority of white people wanting to blame?

Black people.

Who were a minority of voters in California: who included LGBT couples who married and whose families supported them: who did not instigate Prop8 and, demographically, had less to do with passing it than the homophobic white people.

Lots of liberals don't like having this pointed out, I suppose because it damages the idea of one big happy house of progressivism

You suppose wrong. I don't like having white racists go "oh, let's blame the blacks!" rather than, you know, any or all of the clearly identifiable white groups because I don't like stupid flailing racism.

them's the facts. A large majority of African-Americans would just as soon I disappeared, or died, or repented, or something.

As would a large majority of white Americans. You don't mind that they hate you, right? They're white. It's their privilege to hate you. When straight black people express homophobia about white gay people, you are not only pissed at their homophobia - which is fair - you feel they're being uppity. Don't you?

Good God. The amount of racist nonsense this has kicked up - especially, of course, among white conservatives who want to lay the blame for their own side's bigotry elsewhere - is really almost as enraging and saddening as the bigoted white people who got the damn thing passed on a day when we all ought to have been able to rejoice.

I am upset about this erroneous finger pointing at African-Americans regarding Proposition 8. Why are you so quick to believe whatever you hear? If someone told me 70 percent of gay people voted against Obama my first thought would be, excuse me Jesus, that is crap! I don't believe it! This political year was fraught with right wing lies. Bear that in mind.

"Religious organizations that support Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church], Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family[and the National Organization for Marriage Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California's largest, has also endorsed the measure. The Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has publicly supported the proposition and encouraged their membership to support it, by asking its members to donate money and volunteer time. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read in every congregation. Latter-day Saints have provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California. About 45% of out-of-state contributions to Protect Marriage.com has come from Utah, over three times more than any other state."

Still, even though gays were fighting to preserve a basic right, it was the anti-equality side in California that seemed to have the most fervor. A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means - he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys - who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. "It was a decision we made very prayerfully," Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee's Jennifer Garza. "Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

This is your real enemy. Don't trust exit polls. I think they are pitting one group against the other. African-Americans are less than 7% of the state population, do the math. Many more Whites voted and they put this over, not Blacks. What are the total numbers of each group that voted. Someone dug into the data and found that we're just now learning is that the exit poll was based on less than 2,300 people. If you take into account that blacks in California only make up about 6.2%, we get roughly 224 blacks who were polled. 224 blacks to blame an entire race! The original percentage of black voters who were expected to say yes to Prop 8 was only around 52-58%. Anytime you get a vote that much higher over the projected vote, something went wrong.

I know someone who watches C-Span and they said most Blacks did not even address the question at all. And they do not have the money to fund a tens of millions of dollars Proposition 8 campaign. Note that they also targeted affirmative action for eradication in another state.
I cannot believe that these groups get a pass and Blacks are being targeted for the blame game. Rather than be upset at the phantom African-American menace, fight like hell. There is no right wing black conspiracy against gay Americans. When you tried to align your struggle with that of Blacks you inherited their enemies. These same enemies are now trying to pit one against the other because they fear the combined numbers of both.

How many gay activists supported the civil rights movement in the 1960’s? Then how do you automatically expect support in return? Have you asked Blacks to support you or did you just assume?

No one gave Obama anything and they will not give gays anything either. Obama stands on the shoulders of a lot of brave people who gave their lives for him to stand on that podium last night.

Never trust exits polls because in all my years of life, no one has ever been seen at a polling place asking anyone anything when they left.

Don't fall for the lies.



I am upset about this erroneous finger pointing at African-Americans regarding Proposition 8. Why are you so quick to believe whatever you hear? If someone told me 70 percent of gay people voted against Obama my first thought would be, excuse me Jesus, that is crap! I don't believe it! This political year was fraught with right wing lies. Bear that in mind.

"Religious organizations that support Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church], Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family[and the National Organization for Marriage Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California's largest, has also endorsed the measure. The Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has publicly supported the proposition and encouraged their membership to support it, by asking its members to donate money and volunteer time. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read in every congregation. Latter-day Saints have provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California. About 45% of out-of-state contributions to Protect Marriage.com has come from Utah, over three times more than any other state."

Still, even though gays were fighting to preserve a basic right, it was the anti-equality side in California that seemed to have the most fervor. A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means - he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys - who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. "It was a decision we made very prayerfully," Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee's Jennifer Garza. "Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

This is your real enemy. Don't trust exit polls. I think they are pitting one group against the other. African-Americans are less than 7% of the state population, do the math. Many more Whites voted and they put this over, not Blacks. What are the total numbers of each group that voted. Someone dug into the data and found that we're just now learning is that the exit poll was based on less than 2,300 people. If you take into account that blacks in California only make up about 6.2%, we get roughly 224 blacks who were polled. 224 blacks to blame an entire race! The original percentage of black voters who were expected to say yes to Prop 8 was only around 52-58%. Anytime you get a vote that much higher over the projected vote, something went wrong.

I know someone who watches C-Span and they said most Blacks did not even address the question at all. And they do not have the money to fund a tens of millions of dollars Proposition 8 campaign. Note that they also targeted affirmative action for eradication in another state.
I cannot believe that these groups get a pass and Blacks are being targeted for the blame game. Rather than be upset at the phantom African-American menace, fight like hell. There is no right wing black conspiracy against gay Americans. When you tried to align your struggle with that of Blacks you inherited their enemies. These same enemies are now trying to pit one against the other because they fear the combined numbers of both.

How many gay activists supported the civil rights movement in the 1960’s? Then how do you automatically expect support in return? Have you asked Blacks to support you or did you just assume?

No one gave Obama anything and they will not give gays anything either. Obama stands on the shoulders of a lot of brave people who gave their lives for him to stand on that podium last night.

Never trust exits polls because in all my years of life, no one has ever been seen at a polling place asking anyone anything when they left.

Don't fall for the lies.



I am upset about this erroneous finger pointing at African-Americans regarding Proposition 8. Why are you so quick to believe whatever you hear? If someone told me 70 percent of gay people voted against Obama my first thought would be, excuse me Jesus, that is crap! I don't believe it! This political year was fraught with right wing lies. Bear that in mind.

"Religious organizations that support Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church], Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family[and the National Organization for Marriage Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California's largest, has also endorsed the measure. The Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has publicly supported the proposition and encouraged their membership to support it, by asking its members to donate money and volunteer time. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read in every congregation. Latter-day Saints have provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California. About 45% of out-of-state contributions to Protect Marriage.com has come from Utah, over three times more than any other state."

Still, even though gays were fighting to preserve a basic right, it was the anti-equality side in California that seemed to have the most fervor. A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means - he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys - who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. "It was a decision we made very prayerfully," Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee's Jennifer Garza. "Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

This is your real enemy. Don't trust exit polls. I think they are pitting one group against the other. African-Americans are less than 7% of the state population, do the math. Many more Whites voted and they put this over, not Blacks. What are the total numbers of each group that voted. Someone dug into the data and found that we're just now learning is that the exit poll was based on less than 2,300 people. If you take into account that blacks in California only make up about 6.2%, we get roughly 224 blacks who were polled. 224 blacks to blame an entire race! The original percentage of black voters who were expected to say yes to Prop 8 was only around 52-58%. Anytime you get a vote that much higher over the projected vote, something went wrong.

I know someone who watches C-Span and they said most Blacks did not even address the question at all. And they do not have the money to fund a tens of millions of dollars Proposition 8 campaign. Note that they also targeted affirmative action for eradication in another state.
I cannot believe that these groups get a pass and Blacks are being targeted for the blame game. Rather than be upset at the phantom African-American menace, fight like hell. There is no right wing black conspiracy against gay Americans. When you tried to align your struggle with that of Blacks you inherited their enemies. These same enemies are now trying to pit one against the other because they fear the combined numbers of both.

How many gay activists supported the civil rights movement in the 1960’s? Then how do you automatically expect support in return? Have you asked Blacks to support you or did you just assume?

No one gave Obama anything and they will not give gays anything either. Obama stands on the shoulders of a lot of brave people who gave their lives for him to stand on that podium last night.

Never trust exits polls because in all my years of life, no one has ever been seen at a polling place asking anyone anything when they left.

Don't fall for the lies.



I am upset about this erroneous finger pointing at African-Americans regarding Proposition 8. Why are you so quick to believe whatever you hear? If someone told me 70 percent of gay people voted against Obama my first thought would be, excuse me Jesus, that is crap! I don't believe it! This political year was fraught with right wing lies. Bear that in mind.

"Religious organizations that support Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church], Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family[and the National Organization for Marriage Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California's largest, has also endorsed the measure. The Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has publicly supported the proposition and encouraged their membership to support it, by asking its members to donate money and volunteer time. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read in every congregation. Latter-day Saints have provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California. About 45% of out-of-state contributions to Protect Marriage.com has come from Utah, over three times more than any other state."

Still, even though gays were fighting to preserve a basic right, it was the anti-equality side in California that seemed to have the most fervor. A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means - he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys - who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. "It was a decision we made very prayerfully," Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee's Jennifer Garza. "Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

This is your real enemy. Don't trust exit polls. I think they are pitting one group against the other. African-Americans are less than 7% of the state population, do the math. Many more Whites voted and they put this over, not Blacks. What are the total numbers of each group that voted. Someone dug into the data and found that we're just now learning is that the exit poll was based on less than 2,300 people. If you take into account that blacks in California only make up about 6.2%, we get roughly 224 blacks who were polled. 224 blacks to blame an entire race! The original percentage of black voters who were expected to say yes to Prop 8 was only around 52-58%. Anytime you get a vote that much higher over the projected vote, something went wrong.

I know someone who watches C-Span and they said most Blacks did not even address the question at all. And they do not have the money to fund a tens of millions of dollars Proposition 8 campaign. Note that they also targeted affirmative action for eradication in another state.
I cannot believe that these groups get a pass and Blacks are being targeted for the blame game. Rather than be upset at the phantom African-American menace, fight like hell. There is no right wing black conspiracy against gay Americans. When you tried to align your struggle with that of Blacks you inherited their enemies. These same enemies are now trying to pit one against the other because they fear the combined numbers of both.

How many gay activists supported the civil rights movement in the 1960’s? Then how do you automatically expect support in return? Have you asked Blacks to support you or did you just assume?

No one gave Obama anything and they will not give gays anything either. Obama stands on the shoulders of a lot of brave people who gave their lives for him to stand on that podium last night.

Never trust exits polls because in all my years of life, no one has ever been seen at a polling place asking anyone anything when they left.

Don't fall for the lies.



I am upset about this erroneous finger pointing at African-Americans regarding Proposition 8. Why are you so quick to believe whatever you hear? If someone told me 70 percent of gay people voted against Obama my first thought would be, I don't believe it! This political year was fraught with right wing lies. Bear that in mind.

"Religious organizations that support Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church], Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family[and the National Organization for Marriage Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California's largest, has also endorsed the measure. The Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has publicly supported the proposition and encouraged their membership to support it, by asking its members to donate money and volunteer time. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read in every congregation. Latter-day Saints have provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California. About 45% of out-of-state contributions to Protect Marriage.com has come from Utah, over three times more than any other state."

Still, even though gays were fighting to preserve a basic right, it was the anti-equality side in California that seemed to have the most fervor. A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means - he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys - who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. "It was a decision we made very prayerfully," Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee's Jennifer Garza. "Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

This is your real enemy. Don't trust exit polls. I think they are pitting one group against the other. African-Americans are less than 7% of the state population, do the math. Many more Whites voted and they put this over, not Blacks. What are the total numbers of each group that voted. Someone dug into the data and found that we're just now learning is that the exit poll was based on less than 2,300 people. If you take into account that blacks in California only make up about 6.2%, we get roughly 224 blacks who were polled. 224 blacks to blame an entire race! The original percentage of black voters who were expected to say yes to Prop 8 was only around 52-58%. Anytime you get a vote that much higher over the projected vote, something went wrong.

I know someone who watches C-Span and they said most Blacks did not even address the question at all. And they do not have the money to fund a tens of millions of dollars Proposition 8 campaign. Note that they also targeted affirmative action for eradication in another state.
Rather than be upset at the phantom African-American menace, fight like hell. I cannot believe that these larger groups who came out in droves to craft and fund this legislation get a pass and Blacks are being targeted for the blame game. There is no right wing black conspiracy against gay Americans. When you tried to align your struggle with that of Blacks you inherited their enemies. These same enemies are now trying to pit one against the other because they fear the combined numbers of both.
How many gay activists supported the civil rights movement in the 1960’s? Then how do you automatically expect support in return? Have you asked Blacks to support you or did you just assume?

No one gave Obama anything and they will not give gays anything either. Obama stands on the shoulders of a lot of brave people who gave their lives for him to stand on that podium last night.

Never trust exits polls because in all my years of life, no one has ever been seen at a polling place asking anyone anything when they left.

Don't fall for the lies.

And the people have spoken. They have as much right not to want this as we did to want President Elect Obama. Fight this in the court of appeals and not the court of opinion by targeting Blacks for hatred and enmity.




"Given that most of the prior posts are incredibly lucid and legally eloquent - can someone explain to me why I shouldn't worry that gay marriage may lead to multiple marriage, to underage marriage and ????? in the near future..........????????"

Well, you're talking about something completely different. Marriage should be between two people. Thats all the Pro-Gay-Marriage people are saying. To change that into polygomy isn't fair to them.

But on the other hand, who are we to say that if two chicks are stupid enough to marry the same guy they shouldn't be allowed to? I still haven't heard a good argument on why the government(or our neighbors) should be allowed to run our personal lives.

As far as underage marriage goes... what? Kids are starting to have sex in middle school, and that's without marriage. You should be far more concerned about the lack of safe sex education than underage marriage.

I just hope a day comes when we stop worrying about silly taboos and start worrying about the real problems facing our country.

It is even more simple to analyze. Since blacks represent 7% or less of the California population, they can never determine the outcome of an election.

You have to be intellectually dishonest by ignoring the other 93% of the population to make that case.

(There were even some who blamed blacks for the stock market crash -- until we all learned about wall street derivatives scandal.)

Thelea: How many gay activists supported the civil rights movement in the 1960’s?

Lots.

I wasn't actually born then, but yeah: lots of black gay activists, lots of white gay activists, you can read about this in many personal memoirs of the civil rights movement: there was an op-ed about the interconnection in by Gilbert Caldwell link a few years ago.

This does not of course affect the fact that blaming the passing of Proposition 8 on black people in California is blatant racism. But the notion that white gay activists don't deserve the support of straight black people because there were no gay activists (white or black) in the civil rights movement of the 1960s is just historical bunkum - part of the divide and rule that conservatives thrive on.

I may have missed it, but Nate Silver discusses voting on Prop 8 here

Professor Darkheart- demographic analysis of any vote involves "singling out" people by demographic group, including race. The 70% African American vote for Prop. 8 is dramatic. Are you suggesting that it not be commented on at all? Why?

Conversely, why is the religious right (Mormons, Catholics) denounced for advocating for their position on Prop. 8. Is that illegal or immoral? Should opposition to liberal views be silenced?

Lastly, isn't it insulting to voters who supported Prop. 8 to infer that they were just mindless sheep, manipulated into their noxious vote by the Mormons?

The 70% African American vote for Prop. 8 is dramatic. Are you suggesting that it not be commented on at all? Why?

Because about 5.5% of the electorate isn't actually "dramatic" at all - unless you want to spin it up as "70% of the black vote!" and ignore the big, white, out-of-state funders like the LDS and the Catholic church.

I'm pissed at black people. I've met so many 40 year old black first time voters it makes me want to scream. If blacks were voting like they did in '08 back in '04 then we could have been spared another four years of this bullshit.

I know 70% of a people supporting something is huge. But if blacks voted the way they voted and Hispanics voted like whites then there would be no Prop 8.

I know 70% of a people supporting something is huge. But if blacks voted the way they voted and Hispanics voted like whites then there would be no Prop 8.

yes, the Catholic Bishops strongly supported the passage of prop 8, the difference though- they didn't donate any money to help out, or if they did, they were smart enough not to donate it in the name of the Catholic Church. BUT- the Mormon Church donated millions in support of prop 8. IN the end, no matter what you believe, believe this: the Mormon Church screwed it up for everyone: they put a ton of money into getting it passed so the NO people lost the vote, but the YES people might loose the prop due to legal ramifications. Next election- let's vote NO on the Mormon Church

Thanks for posting some clear, detailed numbers about the black vote count on prop 8. much appreciated. I personally would have voted against the ban, for the reason that i hope it would reduce the number of closet marriages. black folks are still highly christianized, so hence the pro-vote. unlike white folks, black folks take that religious crap seriously. but all in all, I do take a personal some satisfaction seeing as how gays, who are among the first to take advantage of gentrification-(negro removal) getting their ox gored by its victims.

Prop 8 and the Black Vote my ass! The black vote didn't do this. And if the gay community is stupid enough to use black voters as the scapegoats then prepare for the shitstorm! You need us, and you better get to work on building bridges within the black community or you can bet the mormon church, catholic church and whoever else will make sure you get nothing. Black people don't have a centralized church so you can make inroads but you have to work for it.

I'm not cosigning your numbers MikeyC but even if they were correct, all it means is if less black voters abstained or voted no then it would have been closer. But without any outreach how did the gay community expect to affect the black vote? Not our problem you didn't take black voters seriously enough to talk to them.

obviously insert "more" for "less" in my comment, i.e., if more black voters abstained or voted no then it would have been closer.

Lets get this right . . . gay rights is not civil rights. Most people who are against gay marriage do so in accordance with their religious beliefs. People who were against granting people of color (Native Americans and Hispanics have been discriminated against too)do so because of excessive feelings of inferioty. Dont play the "civil rights" card people its not the same. But, I do believe their should be more advocacy of the term "Seperation of church and state." Prop should have never been proposed, most blacks I talked to say they were against the idea of civil unions between homosexuals being called "marriage" and nothing more. Advocates of LGBT rights should concentrate on advancing the legalization of gay civil unions with the same legal rights of gay marriages but not with the same name.

Even assuming that blacks make up 10% of the electorate, their voting bloc was not powerful enough to swing the decision. I've done some simulation analysis to speak to this conclusion that uses the total number of California voters and the racial group proportions posted by the CNN Exit Poll. See here and here.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


  • visitors since 3/2/2004

July 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Blog powered by Typepad

QuantCast