Will a Record Black Turnout Doom Proposition 8?

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Uh oh.

For all the joy some feel at the notion of legions of hitherto apolitical blacks energized to get out and vote for Obama, here’s a wrinkle they might not have considered. Having gotten out to vote for their boy, will they also vote for homophobia and pass Prop. 8? One black lesbian activist has her fingers crossed they won’t, as does an LA Times op-ed. But I’m not so sure. Remember Ohio in 2004? That’s when black voters remained immune to the siren call of black hyper-religious/socially conservative GOP candidates but, since they were already in the booth, also helped kill gay marriage rights.

See that op-ed for an argument that blacks are not the leading purveyors of homophobia in America (something I thought true and will now have to investigate). A recent PEW study showing across the board declines in opposition to gay marriage backs them up.

According to PEW, Black opposition decreased by 6 percent: In 2004, 24 percent supported gay marriage while 56 percent opposed it. In 2008, the numbers are 26 percent and 56 percent. The study doesn’t account for Hispanic (or Asian) opinion, a factor which will definitely matter with California’s Proposition 8.

Also, hopefully, the wording of the Prop will make black knees jerk:

By invoking rights, the ballot’s wording on Proposition 8—the title reads “Eliminates Right of Same-sex Couples to Marry”—could turn off black voters. Proposition supporters sought a different heading, “Limit on Marriage,” but a judge dismissed their case last week.

Big Brother never tires of newspeak, does he?

I hadn’t thought to worry about this before, but as (some) blacks make the argument that an Obama win is a win for equality, here’s hoping they’ll give a thought to equality for all.

We’re not big on ‘eliminating rights.’

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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