African-Americans Less Supportive of Prop. 8 than Originally Believed

January 8, 2009
Category: Politics

A recent study has shown that African-Americans in California were far less supportive of proposition 8 -- which banned gay marriage in California in Novemer - than originally believed, but still more supportive than several other groups.

The study by Patrick J. Egan, Ph.D., assistant professor of politics and public policy at New York University, and Kenneth Sherrill, Ph.D., professor of political science at Hunter College, CUNY, under the auspices of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute shows that while exit polls indicated Black voters supported Prop 8 by nearly 70 percent, they in fact supported it by about 58 percent.

The study looked at pre- and post-election polls and conducted a sophisticated analysis of precinct-level voting data from five California counties with the highest African-American populations (Alameda (Oakland), Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco). Based on this, it concludes that the level of African-American support for Proposition 8 was in the range of 57-59 percent.

Egan said, "Party identification, age, religiosity and political view had much bigger effects than race, gender or having gay and lesbian family and friends."

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "...support among blacks is still well above the 52 percent Prop. 8 received from all voters in the Nov. 4 election. Much of that can be attributed to the strong religious tradition in the black community, where 57 percent of African American voters attend church at least once a week, compared with 42 percent of Californians overall."

Andrea Shorter, director of And Marriage for All, responded to the report: "The study debunks the myth that African Americans overwhelmingly and disproportionately supported Proposition 8. But we clearly have work to do with, within and for African American communities, particularly the black church."

Jaime Grant, director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute agreed, saying, "This is a wake-up call to the (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. We must do a better job of organizing in the faith-based community, using LGBT people who are themselves part of that community."

However, a post-election survey for Equality California by David Binder Research of San Francisco of 800 voters state-wide showed that more than 80 percent of Republicans and conservatives cast ballots in favor of the proposition and some two-thirds of voters 65 and older did as well.  

Reaching out to ALL these communities in the future is going to be key for gay marriage supporters if voters continue to be asked to decide for or against gay marriage in California and indeed the Country.  While it's tempting to look at the "Obama-effect" in bringing out African-Americans to vote and say they swung the vote toward passage of Proposition 8, the fact is a wide variety of people supported the Proposition.  If we are to change their minds and the law then we need to reach out to all of them, and make informed, tactical decisions about who will most likely to be swayed and place our greatest efforts there.  To simply hope that in a future election fewer African-Americans would vote and therefore a reversal of Proposition 8 would pass, is simply cynical, passively insufficient and would fail.

 

Tags: Gay Marriage
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Comments

Walter,
This is useful information not widely circulated. That nearly 60% of African-American's voted FOR Prop H8 tells me they've learned little from their own struggle for equal rights.
All this is beside the point.
What is most needed and required before marriage equality has true meaning is the repeal of DOMA. Bill Clinton did us all a great disservice when he signed DOMA into law. Yes he caved in!
There is a site which is still running sample letters to the Senate and House of Representatives, their leaders, Senator Reid and House Speaker Pilosi to urge the congress to repeal DOMA and send it to Obama for signature. In the run-up to the election, Obama stated that DOMA ought to be repealed. Now it's time to urge him to put his power where his mouth was, whether or not he actually believes in marriage equality, which incidently he stated he is not FOR same-sex marriage but some lesser element of equality. Ugh!
What, in 48 states gay marriage is legal? Prop H8 in CA violates Article One of the State Constitution according to AG Jerry Brown. Let's hope the Supreme Court of CA realizes the same thing and invlidates Prop H8. The point however is almost moot since the laws of a few individual states does not one thing vis-a-vis federal law ... i.e. the existence of DOMA.
People for the American Way has a web link whereby one may sent letters to the Senate and House: dumpDOMA.com. One need not join People for, just sign the letters. Easy and simply and takes little time to accomplish.
Until the Federal law is repealed, the individual state intiatives mean little.
My $.02.
grnddad1 on DaddyHunt. com.
Thank you!

I don't think it helps when we refer to Prop 8 as Prop H8.

Most of the pro-8 people I've met would say they "don't hate the sinner, just the sin" - or whatever their usual baloney is. So - they can't relate to our branding them as "haters" and I think it may well be counterproductive for us.

And, in truth, I don't really think they hate us - they're just ignorant and tribalistic. Your tribe vs. my tribe, and all that.

I think it's better to show them how normal and not scary we really are - rather than prolong artificial divisions by using terms like h8.

I think this number is higher. I work in San Francisco and one of my coworkers, a Africian-American, living in the East Bay told me that her minister was encouraging churchmembers to vote yes on 8; she also stated that many of the Black churches in the East Bay, Ca also encouraged their members to vote yes on 8. You know its funny, several years ago there was a measure on the California Ballot, doing away with quotas based on race in state school applications, etc. Man the Black community even advertised in gay papers encouraging gays to vote against the measure, and of course, as idiots as we are, we did; and this is how we are repaided. I will never again vote for a Black candidate. I'm a life-long democrat, but if I have a choice between a black democrat candidate and a white republician, and I dont' care how rightwing the candidate is, I will not support the Black candidate. I know I will get critized for this as being racist, but we gays need to really stand up! Can't get stabbed in the back again. And also if Obama runs i 2012; I will NOT support him with my vote or financial support as I did this time.

Although I share your sense of betrayal, my response to the slightly disproportionate support for Prop. 8 among black voters is tempered by my recently revived activism and involvement with other groups who have been organizing to help win our full civil rights. There are plenty of LGBT black people who also felt betrayed, and lumping them with all blacks is not only wrong, but it is also counterproductive. We need all the allies of any color we can get.

Furthermore, you may be unaware that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sent representatives to South Central Los Angeles in the wake of the election to reprimand those black preachers who supported Prop. 8—not all of them did support it, BTW—pointing out that it set a dangerous precedent for a slim majority to repeal the civil rights of ANY minority by popular vote.

Mormons are disproportionately white, yet I don't hear you vowing never again to vote for a white candidate in retaliation, even though their financial contribution to the passage of Prop. 8 far exceeded any by people of color.

Also, after the public protests in the days and weeks after the election new polls revealed that enough people's opinions had been swayed, that if the election were held again today, Prop. 8 would fail. We can win some hearts and minds, if not all of them.

Racism and homophobia are both ugly. Neither will be eradicated by piling prejudice on prejudice.

@Robert

That is just plain stupid and you are indeed racist and wanted to hide your racisim as any good racist would.

Don't you realize that the same white republican you would vote for would put you in a gas chamber if he could. Are you freaking kidding me dude, with this crap?

The pros and cons aside, it remains that DOMA must be repealed before any progress can occur with respect to same-sex unions, marriage, whatever one chooses to call is.
DOMA was drafted by former GA Representative Bob Barr, who of late wrote an Op-Ed piece in the Los Angeles Times urging that DOMA be repealed. Note, he was not advocating equal rights, rather that DOMA as he envisioned it is that it is not accomplishing what he intended. That aside, here is a portion of his Op-Ed piece:
Below is an excerpt from the Op-Ed:

“I've wrestled with this issue for the last several years and come to the conclusion that DOMA is not working out as planned. In testifying before Congress against a federal marriage amendment, and more recently while making my case to skeptical Libertarians as to why I was worthy of their support as their party's presidential nominee, I have concluded that DOMA is neither meeting the principles of federalism it was supposed to, nor is its impact limited to federal law.

In effect, DOMA's language reflects one-way federalism: It protects only those states that don't want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state. Moreover, the heterosexual definition of marriage for purposes of federal laws—including, immigration, Social Security survivor rights and veteran's benefits—has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions."

Elsewhere in the Op-Ed Barr writes that the he now agrees with President-elect Barack Obama who in 2006 as the junior Senator from Illinois voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, saying, "Decisions about marriage should be left to the states."

“He was right then; and as I have come to realize, he is right now in concluding that DOMA has to go,” Barr writes of Obama.

@robert

And do you think the white republican you would vote for would have this?

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/ 2005-9804.html

Gay band to march in Presidential inauguration parade

For the first time in American history, a gay group has been asked to march in the Inaugural Parade.
President-elect Obama will take the oath of office on January 20th during an elaborate day of celebrations in Washington DC.

The parade will include the Lesbian and Gay Band Association as a marching contingent.
During his inauguration parades President Clinton allowed the LGBA to perform on the street but not march.

The LGBA is comprised of concert and marching bands from cities across America and the world.
Formed in 1982 as Lesbian and Gay Bands of America when seven independent lesbian and gay bands met formally in Chicago, LGBA has grown to 26 bands.

"We are extremely pleased to announce that the Lesbian and Gay Band Association will be included as a marching contingent in the Inaugural Parade," the group said on its website.
"This is the first time that an LGBT group will be represented in a Presidential Inaugural Parade, truly our chance to make history."

Right. Who cares about our Civil Rights being stripped away as long as we get lip-service?

I think the gay community should stop bothering to help the blacks with their struggles and focus solely on our own. A stronger focus on our own issues will help prevent things like prop 8 from passing in the future (obviously, not in places like Oklahoma, but in areas with mostly undecided voters? yeah). When the black community realizes it has lost a great deal of support, hopefully they will stop voting against us. I doubt they'll have any rights taken away like we did, but when they have fewer allies supporting them and have to work harder to move forward in their fight for equality, maybe they'll be more understanding of ours.

A homophobic preacher gets to gives an address at the inauguration and we're supposed to be satisfied with a token marching band??? You must be joking.

http://blog.mattalgren.com/2008/12/homophobic-bigot-to-give-invocation-at-president-obamas-inauguration/

Mr. Smith-- Please explain precisely what you are attempting to opine here? Why does the white male local gay community "expect" divine devotion to "their" quest for some vain, colgate-invisible shield, "white" ideal of rainbow marriage from the totality African-American communities in the face of that same white male sub-populace having abysmally failed to address systemic racism and ostracism wihtin its own populace group. Their failure to shut down the Badlands bar during its racist problem of a few years back via economic boycott and the problems with the Castro "white male" merchants association to bar any person of colour or lesbian from owning more than one or two "dedicated" business within the zone is rather telling. Be that as it may. What really has the white male gay populace done to support African-American causes. Deafly silent on racial profiling and police brutuality. Would rather have hypocritical business establishments like tanning parlours all over its hood [why do you feel compelled to look like the folk you so dislike?] than viable establishments by people of colour for people of colour but then when it is your issue up to bat Viola! you expect instant understanding and support. It does not work that way.

Your first mistake is a vain attempt at comparing the gay white male, civil rights struggle with that of the formerly enslaved folk of african descent? How many white gay men were strung up a tree and lynched simply for being same gender loving? How many? Ok, how many blacks lynched across the land for demanding their human rights? Compare the numbers and tell me who has the highest casualty total? How many white gay men attended lynching parties of africans and said or did nothing or how many participated directly? How many gay white men economically lynched queer men and women of colour everyday? If it took from 1865 to 1965 [that'a 100 years] for blacks to be amended in the Constitution with some level of respect but still to this day not having any really, what does the gay white male community expect from the african communities expect but them to also wait for 100 years plus.? But more telling than that, why is it that the white gay male communities think that the african communities [queer, gay or straight] have some kind of magic clout above and beyond their own? In other words, does the global media listen to and publish what the pastor at some corner church in the inner city is saying or does it publish the Vatican, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Russian or Greek Orthodox ones. Why is the gay white male communities so obsessed with its beign, patronistic thinking that the african communities are a monolith and should always support there causes. Hell, if you cannot get your own to support you, why bother and attempt to use us as scapegoats? Why, because of your own inheritant internal racist and white supremacy pathology.

And that last one is evident in some of the responses thus far. Who cares if you voted for and elected as "el jefe" a half caste, white, would-be Kenyan [if he were not so disrespectful to his African heritage] democratic presidental person with a middle name of Hussein. The kid was raised by a white woman, and it essentially white in all but permanent tan. His thinking and actions to date reflect that his thinking is far more eurocentric than africancentric. Even though, your public media has tryed to craft him as something other than half caste and more african than he really is.

So, in short, dont be expecting too much from us african descendants be we queer or straight in your quest for rights support for say oh 200 or so years. We are really too busy attempting to set our own houses in order with your government's destruction of our communities and locking away or drugging up most of our men folk whilst projecting our women folk as nothing short of harlots which is not the case. Perhaps, maybe if you all took some of that white male disposible income you all have and plow it back into the communities surround your gay ghetto instead of wasting it on cruises and strips of black dyed cow hides in acquiring the Nazi SS look then perhaps the clock might speed up a bit for your time. I doubt but it is food for thought.

Yeah, an African queer from the old skool who considers anything close to straight folk marriage not even ideal for me.

What i am reading here i am TRULY saddened by.The comments from those whom are apparently white as well as those whom are apparently black.
If it isn't obvious from the above the simple fact that racism is not"over"as a LOT of people would like to believe.Then guess i need to go back into my mothers womb and wait a few more years to be born!

Racism is NOT an exclusive American thing,it exists all over the world.It tends to stem from basic ignorance of those whom are different from ones own self.

The key that keeps racism,sexism,classism,homophobia and other such negative things alive is simple.People are too lazy to do the work that it takes to understand those whom are different from themselves.Understanding takes work,time,real effort and often LEADERSHIP.Those things tend to be simply too much for some,so they fall in with the rest of the crowd around them whom are just as lazy.

People are sheep-They like to be herded and DO NOT like being apart from the crowd.They go where the crowd goes and in a lot of cases NEVER deviate from the path that the crowd takes.

Hence the seemingly never ending existence of short lived fashion trends and unsubstantiated rumors

Having been in sales on many occasions over the last twenty plus years i have seen this sort of thing play out too many times.I would attempt to educate a customer on how to make an informed purchase BEFORE they walked in the door.That would require just a little bit of work on their part to LEARN SOMETHING.The whole purpose was to keep them from being fleeced by salesman.

TRUST AND BELIEVE it was like pulling teeth.

The average person just wanted to come in and be told what to buy by some smooth talking salesman.If and when something went wrong,they wanted to be able to blame the salesman,the store,the product manufacturer and anyone else involved in the mistake/problem!! I lost count of how many times i would try to get across to people the simple fact that blame solves NOTHING.I would tell them okay you now know who to blame.GREAT,but now is that person or persons going to drive back and forth from home to the store,schlepping the product and paperwork?Making all the phone calls necessary to get something fixed or replaced.Mailing forms and waiting on hold for god knows how long over and over again Blah,blah,blah,yadda,yadda,yadda?

Simple answer-NO!

YOU are one who gets stuck with all of that work and responsibility and it COULD EASILY HAVE BEEN AVOIDED.

What is the point of all that?

Too many of us think that it is easier to be ignorant,since ignorance is bliss.
Ignorance,however carries MANY hidden costs!!!
Some would like to close their eyes to those costs,but they can ONLY hide from them for so long before they come home to roost.

OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!!!

Look at the other people right next to you whom do not look just like you do,smile,say hello and-HEAVEN FORBID-start a conversation.In most cases they won't bite you AND you might just find out how much alike the two of you really are down deep.......................

THE ONLY WAY THAT WE AS A PEOPLE-GAY,STRAIGHT,BI,LESBIAN,TRANSGENDERED,BLACK,WHITE,YELLOW,RED,BLUE,GREEN OR ORANGE ARE EVER GOING TO OVERCOME OUR DIFFERENCES IS TO GET TO WORK TOGETHER TO OVERCOME OUR DIFFERENCES!!!!!!!!!!!

This IS NOT something that can EVER be achieved separately.History has proven that time and time again.
Remember-Life is NOT a series of quick,short sound bytes(which sadly is the preferred mode of communication nowadays)Life is in the details,PAY ATTENTION

Keep yourselves safe and at peace people

" ..... with liberty and justice for all." So goes the pledge of allegience to the flag of the United States of America.

Just what part of "all" DON'T you understand????

@honestaquarian

A well balanced post. Good job!

And you know what I find so interesting and telling. Some of thes same guys who are be moaning the African American community's lack of support, are they same ones who would never consider dating a black guy - hiding behind "the preference" thing.

As honestaquarian said in his post. Open your eyes people. Let's all work together. We are more alike than different

Thank you Justin!!!

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Numbers, facts, percentages don't mean a thing: the fact is that Blacks overwhelmingly voted against gay people's right to marriage with each other and that is that. Am I racist? I am 1/3 black and can state clearly that there are racists in every race and Blacks are not ommitted from this fact. I don;t care to read about excuses for any people or race that discriminates against anyone. Facts are facts.

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