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09/22/2008

No one wins with minority-on-minority voter hostility

by Jeremy Hooper

Over the weekend, a certain NY Times piece set off a debate within the LGBT activist community. The topic: Whether or not Barack Obama's heightened support among African-Americans and Latinos will backfire for same-sex couples at the California polls. The disconcerting assertion is that support for Proposition 8 is higher with these voting blocks:

200809220814NY Times EXCERPT: Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, is against the measure. But opponents of the proposed ban worry that many black voters, enthused by Mr. Obama’s candidacy but traditionally conservative on issues involving homosexuality, could pour into voting stations in record numbers to punch the Obama ticket — and then cast a vote for Proposition 8.
“It’s a Catch-22,” said Andrea Shorter, the campaign director of And Marriage for All, a coalition of gay and civil rights groups that recently started what it calls an education campaign around the state, focusing on blacks and framing the issue of same-sex marriage as one of civil rights.

The Obama/Proposition 8 situation appeals to those opposed to same-sex marriage, who are banking on a high turnout by blacks and conservative Latinos. “There’s no question African-American and Latino voters are among our strongest supporters,” said Frank Schubert, the co-campaign manager for Yes on 8, the leading group behind the measure. “And to the extent that they are motivated to get to the polls, whether by this issue or by Barack Obama, it helps us.”
FULL STORY: Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Tied to Obama Factor [NY Times]

Yea, because we can't think of ANY reason why minority communities should be sympathetic to having rights, including but not limited to the freedom to marry, restricted by majority tyranny. [::writer rolls, shakes head, and re-reads the Loving vs. Virginia decision::]

But of course neither the black not the Latino vote is a monolithic one, and its a major (and even slightly offensive) trap for anyone to act as if these voting blocks are chomping at the bit to roll back LGBT equality. So we're gonna take this for what it is: food for thought. And while chewing on it, we're going to remain optimistic that every American's affection for constitutional equality will trump over any one certain community's supposed embrace of antiquated bias.

**SEE ALSO: Michael Crawford has a thoughtful take on this over at Bloggernista.

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Your thoughts

As a gay man of color - I never really thought about this but as sad as it is, it’s kinda true - the black and Latino communities tend to be very religious people and let's face it religious beliefs are gay equality biggest threat.

Posted by: Alonzo | Sep 22, 2008 11:43:34 AM

Religious beliefs are the biggest threat? What about UU churches, who are overwhelmingly supportive of LGBT issues. (They even helped out with Silent Witness at Penn State for the commitment ceremony held last year, and them made and handed out favors after the ceremony.)

And my (Lutheran) worshiping community has been also been incredibly supportive. My pastor, who was one of the first people I came out to, helped me to come out to the group as a whole (at a Bible study), and our non-ordained minister is also wonderful on our issues.

And the Episcopals here are great, too.

And how about those NC Baptists in the last post?

And the list goes on (it's not merely anecdotal).

So, while there are, I fully admit, a large number of religious opponents, and while nearly all opponents are religious in nature, I do think it's unfair to blame religious beliefs in general. Perhaps it's more several particular types of religious beliefs, albeit widespread and popular and very vocal ones.

Posted by: PSUdain | Sep 22, 2008 12:36:14 PM

A higher black and latino turnout will definitely hurt gays. It has little to do with race or ethnicity, as such, and much to do with income and education. Because the black and latino populations in the US tend to have lower levels of income and education than the anglo, they tend to be more fundamentally religious and less tolerant. When you compare ethnic voting trends among groups of equal income and education, you see very little differences. So, ironically, Obama's presence on the ticket is probably a negative for gay rights in California.

Posted by: | Sep 22, 2008 1:17:24 PM

I should have been a bit more clear in my response in the majority of Black and Latino communities the predominated religious belief are Baptist, evangelical and Catholic faiths and for most part those faiths are hostile towards gay equality.

Posted by: Alonzo | Sep 22, 2008 1:39:45 PM

PSUdain, it isn't that religion or being religious is the problem, it is the fundi-judge-mentalism that is the problem. Those who aren't satisfied with simply enjoying their freedom to believe and worship as they wish. Those whose leaders encourage them to believe that anyone different from them is evil. It really helps if the "believers" have social prejudices that predispose them to xenophobia, but sometimes just the comradery of the jihad is sufficient enticement.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Sep 22, 2008 8:04:52 PM

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