Prop. 8 Is Likely to Pass.

It’s kind of a gut punch, and what’s most disappointing is the role that Cailfornia’s black voters — who turned out in record numbers — played in its passage.


They show a narrow victory for marriage equality: 52 to 48. Every ethnic group supported marriage equality, except African-Americans, who voted overwhelmingly against extending to gay people the civil rights once denied them: a staggering 69 – 31 percent African-American margin against marriage equality. That’s worse than even I expected. Whites, on the other hand, clearly rejected discrimination: 55 to 45 percent. Latinos were evenly split. But what matters, of course, is the margin of all the votes.

What to make of this? The church and poverty explanations can’t be reasons for all of this;  were that so, why would Latinos vote so differently on this?


If someone wants to give me a reason why gay people shouldn’t be able to marry that doesn’t, at its root, boil down to “yuck,” I guess I’d love to hear it. But really that isn’t the point. I’ve always maintained that you don’t have to like black people to do the right thing. Same thing here. I’m not very interested in folks’s homophobia. I’m interested in why they think they should be in the business of dictating terms of love to two consenting adults. It’s disgusting. And we need to let this shit go. There may be great, sound reasons beyond–the blacks are pathological!!–to explain this. But there are no great, sound reasons that excuse it. Cut this shit out. We know better. Even if other people didn’t.

7 thoughts on “Prop. 8 Is Likely to Pass.

  1. simplyscott November 5, 2008 at 9:55 am Reply

    Far be it from me to be able to explain the phenomenon, but I find it odd that someone who think it’s not the church that brings in homophobia. It seems that the church pushes a lot of that in white culture; wouldn’t be similar in black culture? How different are white Baptists from black Baptists?

  2. G.D. November 5, 2008 at 10:16 am Reply

    ss: I think black churches and white churches are pretty different, but that’s not what’s so bothersome here. The church definitely plays a role in the shaping of attitudes re: gays, but I have a hard time buying that 69 percent of black CA voters are churched, and that church is the only factor giving the way that Latinos voted on the measure.

    There’s something else going on here.

  3. e. November 5, 2008 at 10:29 am Reply

    Real talk, this shit pisses me off. Talk about hypocritical. There is NO reason why Black people should be standing in the way of others’ civil rights. All the excuses I’ve heard are pathetic and nonsensical. It’s 2008. Get over your homophobia.

  4. shani-o November 5, 2008 at 10:46 am Reply

    There’s something else going on here.

    Even if black folks aren’t all churched, the fact is, most of us are a part of a culture that is heavily religious. But I suspect the homophobia is directly tied to the black masculinity construct.

  5. quadmoniker November 5, 2008 at 11:06 am Reply

    Meanwhile, in Arkansas, single parents cannot adopt children or be a foster parent. The measure’s proponents were pretty clear in that the measure was meant to prevent gay people from adopting.

  6. universeexpanding November 5, 2008 at 2:08 pm Reply

    I spent all day wondering about what the outcome was going to be one this, especially since reading sullivan’s blog last night. I’m really REALLY disappointed. I agree with G.D. that there has to be something else going on here other than the church. I was really hoping that people would vote on the premise that it’s wrong to pass any measure that is discriminatory…I guess not.

    Shani: I’d be interested in hearing what the argument that could be made around that issue. With my friends here in the Caribbean who are opposed to homosexuality, men are the focus of the reaction as opposed to women and there usually isn’t anything intellectual about it. Just this “Ewww!” sorta thing. Some will quote you Leviticus and start bible thumping but for the most part it’s unexplained aversion. An ex of mine went so far as to get Freudian with his explanation – he argued that to be penetrated is a female desire, and so homosexuality is necessarily feminizing, so maybe you’re on to something. (Needless to say that comment sparked a pretty intense argument about sexuality and gender, but that probably deserves a post of its own)

  7. Ralph H. Manningfield November 6, 2008 at 6:42 pm Reply

    shani-o hit the nail right on the head. The reason black Californians overwhelmingly supported this despicable initiative has to do with the ubiquity of the church in the lives of black Americans as well as the perceived threat that homosexuality is to the juvenile understanding a lot of black men have of masculinity. A perception which may have come out of the post civil rights movement era in black America. After the fire hoses and marches some black folks got complacent and black men reacting to years of the “Boy Syndrome” began to unwittingly embrace all of the old slave-era stereotypes via Blaxploitation films and the characters that populated funk music. This was a time that saw the emergence of the “neo-black buck” archetype. This icon influenced much of popular culture, from Quentin Tarantino (actually, any of the “VCR Generation” of white filmmakers) to the impressionable young black boys who would later start the hip-hop movement, and thus gave birth to the confused black male caricature we see today.

    Older blacks have been indoctrinated since birth so to them whatever rev says is law. It’s incredibly sad really when this religion that a lot of blacks cling to was literally beaten into them after their traditional religions were beaten out.

    Please note, I am not “blaming” religion. Blaming religion for the ills of a society is like blaming a blind fold because you can’t see. Just take off the damn blind fold black people!!!

    Oh, and to universeexpanding’s ex–some would argue that a man being with a woman is feminizing due to compromises the man must make to be sexually compatible with the woman. Lay that one on ‘em…. 🙂

    Damn me and my tangents. Sorry folks, this issue just has me all riled up!

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