Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One black man vs. hundreds of thousands of gay couples

Radley Balko at Reason's blog has an interesting post up about the paradox of last night's elections: while blacks helped Obama become the first black president in US history, they also happen to have been far more bigoted than whites when it came to gay rights. Though a single black man might have become president, hundreds of thousands (millions?) of gay Californians lost rights, likely because of the historic turnout by black Americans. Radley Balko sums it up:

In California, the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage actually failed among white voters, 51-49. It was the 70 percent support from black voters that put the measure over the top.

Florida's ban would have passed among white voters 60-40. But it passed among blacks 71-29. [...]

Kind of a sad irony if in helping achieve one civil rights milestone, last night's historical black turnout also helped perpetuate state-sanctioned discrimination against gay couples who wish to marry.

Edit: It turns out, this is actually not the case – despite blacks being by far the most likely minority to vote yes on Prop 8, it seems that at 10% of California's population, there weren't enough of them to have matter. Were blacks to vote in the same proportions as the rest of Californians, the outcome still would have been the same.

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