Alex Blaze

Race, sexuality, and Proposition 8

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 06, 2008 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: adoption rights, African-American, Arkansas, black, California, CNN, conservative politics, fundamentalists, LGBT, liberals, marriage, Prop. 8, race, support, white

In the wake of the passage of Proposition 8, I'm troubled by the resurgence of "blame black people" rhetoric coming from some some gay people. It's not that African Americans didn't vote for Prop 8 in a higher percentage than the rest of the population - the exit polls indicate they did - it's that it's coming with an unhealthy dose of dickishness, asking us to stop engaging the black religious community (as if we ever seriously did), and instead.... Well, I don't know what the "instead" is, other than possibly joining Republican efforts to disenfranchise minority voters.

And, in a super-douchy move, many of these gays are attaching the "Well, I guess I'm just not PC" to the end of their claims. It should be heretofore known as the "Ace of Douchebaggeries" because trumps all douchebaggery committed in a conversation by anyone else by signaling a complete indifference to the fact that such rhetoric will be interpreted as racist. It's that same sentiment that we LGBT people are usually working against, "I don't think the fudge packers aren't equal, so I guess that means that I'm not PC." Just ask Jim Naugle, crusader against gay bathroom sex.

It might also be called the "This is disgusting; taste it!" approach to political discourse, because it makes about as much sense.

But instead of the exit polling, I'd like to turn your attention to this map:

more republican map1.jpg

This is a map of the counties that voted more for Kerry in 2004 than they did for Obama in 2008. While the entire country moved towards the Democrats, these are the parts of the country that moved towards Republican John McCain.

Moving away from geography and back to exit polling, there's another group who voted along these lines as well. 77% of self-identified LGB people (sorry, CNN doesn't poll the "T") voted for Kerry in 2004; 72% of LGB people voted for Obama in 2008. Without wildly different positions on gay rights issues, the safest assumption is that LGB people, in general, have similar thoughts on race as the average resident of Appalachia or Arkansas.

Either that, or election results should not be interpreted strictly along racial lines. Or something like that.

Speaking of Arkansas, they also had an anti-gay ballot initiative (theirs will ban adoption by unmarried couples). Here's CNN's exit polling based on race: 58% of white people voted for the measure, 54% of black people did, and there wasn't enough of any other racial group to get accurate numbers. And yet, for some reason, no one is decrying the white homophobia that simply can't be addressed with outreach because white folks are just so obsessed with their homophobic religion and white gays are too misogyny and closeted to question homophobia in their community.

But back to the topic I'm more of an expert on: douchebaggery. Dan Savage this morning, while decrying black homophobia in a post that stirred up some of his racist readers in the comments, stated:

I'm not sure what to do with this. I'm thrilled that we've just elected our first African-American president. I wept last night. I wept reading the papers this morning. But I can't help but feeling hurt that the love and support aren't mutual.

I do know this, though: I'm done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there--and they're out there, and I think they're scum--are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.

This will get my name scratched of the invite list of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is famous for its anti-racist-training seminars, but whatever.

Over at Pam's House Blend, one reader responds to her call for more outreach to African American voters:

I refuse to accept responsibility for a bunch of bigots. What shoud I have done Pam? Whined..."Please, please accept me, pretty please with sugar on top". You let your own people off with a slap on the wrist, so I am going to defend my people the angry, white gays. I am tired of being understanding while the African American community at large spits in our face. It is a shame, when a community as a whole shuns another repressed minority using the same bible that they were bashed with only 40 or so years ago. So forgive me, if I am not feeling to generous tonight while I worry about whether I still have a marriage or not.

But I'm wondering why these folks are so caught up in the black voters, who obviously can't ever be persuaded on this issue because... well, because. There are so many other groups in the exit polling that voted for Prop 8 overwhelmingly (as in, more than 60%):

  • The elderly (65+)
  • Republicans
  • Conservatives
  • People who decided for whom to vote in October (but not within the week before the election)
  • People who were contacted by the McCain campaign
  • Protestants
  • Catholics
  • White Protestants
  • Those who attend church weekly
  • Married people
  • People with children under 18
  • Gun owners
  • Bush voters
  • Offshore drilling supporters
  • People who are afraid of a terrorist attack
  • People who thought their family finances were better now than 4 years ago
  • Supporters of the war against Iraq
  • People who didn't care about the age of the candidates
  • Anti-choicers
  • People who are from the "Inland/Valley" region of California
  • McCain voters

Some of these groups supported Prop 8 far more than African Americans did, which makes me wonder why we're focused so much on race instead of any of these factors. In terms of predictive value, religion, political ideology, and being married with children tell us much more about how someone voted on Prop 8 than race does.

From which we can infer three things. First, breaking the statistics just along racial lines is an overly simplistic way to look at the results. Black people, like white people, are not a monolithic group, and LGBT people can make inroads by reaching out to African Americans if we try. Flapping our mouths about how we're not PC, how all blacks are homophobic, and how there's no use in reaching out to African Americans doesn't endear people to us, and there is work to be done here that hasn't been done.

Second, religion is the overwhelming factor in Prop 8's win, in terms of organizing, funding, and voting. Since it's not going anywhere, we have to take a more serious approach to religious voters. And, yes, their leaders make bank off homophobia, but we're going to have to be more creative. No writing off fundies as idiots allowed - they get votes too.

The third conclusion is more sinister. Since married people overwhelmingly supported Prop 8, marriage would be bad for the LGBT community. Obviously, being married makes someone homophobic, and we already have enough problems with internalized homophobia in the community.

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Thanks, Alex, for being a voice of reason. It's hard reading offensive comments about a community of which you belong.

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | November 6, 2008 3:55 PM

Alex, I'm afraid I'm missing the correlation between the map and proposition 8.

Specifically, I don't quite see your point about how the map indicates that the racial analysis of the proposition 8 vote is off-target. Not that I'm saying I support that racial analysis of the proposition 8 vote.

I'm not seeing the connection to a map showing that counties across the mid-South voted more Republican in this election than in the past one. Proposition 8 was in California, and as the map shows, there weren't any counties there that went more Republican in this election--and no one in the counties that went more Republican in the mid-South voted on proposition 8.

Can you please help me understand that connection better?

The important analysis is the two paragraphs after the map. With so few categories of people voting more for McCain '08 than for Bush '04, it's significant that LGB folks are one of those categories. It's not to say that the statistics about black voters is wrong, but putting it into a perspective where we question our own community's complicity in racism.

White queers ranting about homophobia in PoC communities while ignoring racism in LGB(T) communities is a big double standard. And an important step to effectively address oppression within a minority community is to imagine how you can address oppression within a minority community you belong to.

What Tobi said, and...

These folks are implicitly making two big arguments:

1. White racism in the LGBT community is insignificant.

2. Politics can be broken down along racial lines cleanly.

The map implies that the people who voted for Kerry but not for Obama did so either mostly or completely because of race. The policy he supported isn't that much different than Kerry's, and the country generally is in a mood for more liberal policy making than they were in 2004. Plus Obama ran a hands-down better campaign.

For LGB voters, the issues were pretty much the same. Kerry opposed same-sex marriage but supported civil unions, like Obama, McCain opposed everything and pandered to the Religious Right, like Bush. So it's kinda funny that we join in a trend with the parts of the country that we were hearing from in the primaries that had a definite problem with Obama's race.

The only way to avoid saying that LGB people are more racist than the rest of the population is to imply that these racial lines we draw to divide people aren't as important as other ones, which would again disprove the idea that we should be focusing on the black community as a monolithic, homophobic group of people.

Thanks, Alex. I read both Savage and Aravosis today, and I have to say I can't agree with them. I'm more angry at the Mormons and whoever else poured money into that travesty of a proposition.

I say (and I tweeted it way before a similar article appeared on HuffPo) that we start a proposition drive in California to remove the right of Mormons to marry.

I bet we could get a lot of support for that, especially once we share the Mormon belief system (and their taste in underwear) with (other?) Christians.

I understand that people are angry, and that they want to blame the voters, but seriously, the black segment of the vote in CA is not big enough to be the root problem. It's the Utah Mormons...

By the way, another idea is to plant yard signs in front of every LDS church and tabernacle that says 'Hate Lives Here'. This way we target the church, and not individual believers.

And yes, the boycott of Utah and Marriott hotels is also a good idea, although not mine.

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | November 6, 2008 4:41 PM

Thanks for your replies, Alex and Tobi.

Yes, it's absolutely undeniable that the white LGBT community has to engage its racism, and has no business calling on people of color to deal with homophobia if it/we don't subject our racism to equal scrutiny.

And yes, it's absolutely undeniable that proposition 8's victory cannot be laid at the feet of black voters. It passed as a result of a much broader coalition, and the attempt of the LGBT community to engage what happened is going to have to go deeper than pointing the finger at African Americans.

But on the other hand, it is also undeniable that black voters voted in critically high percentages in California for proposition 8. And it's also undeniable that homophobia is a serious issue in the black community.

Which means that the gay community has to find ways to engage race without finger-pointing, and the black community to engage homophobia also without finger-pointing. And we haven't done a very good job of that on either side for some years now, while our opponents continue to build a narrative that sets us against each other.

And are doing so right now in the wake of the election. What I find curious is our own complicity as a community now in continuing the avoidance of the topic of race and homophobia, from all sides, within the LGBT community, within the black community, and across the lines of both communities.

If the map is there simply to point out that many white Americans (who were also significantly motivated by racism in this election) voted for McCain, and that the analysis of the proposition 8 vote in California requires us to recognize that a broader-than-black coalition passed proposition 8, okay.

But I still don't quite get the correlation between a map showing counties that went more Republican in this election (white racist Southern counties), and proposition 8. I don't see how the map somehow closes off the necessary conversation about race and homophobia in both minority communities and across the boundaries of both communities.

It's a metaphor. it's a reducio ad absurdum of the argument about blacks in California. The connection is not a direct one. Instead, Alex has constructed an argument to show that LGBs are racist using the exact same reasoning used to show that blacks are homophobic.

We don't necessarily fall for the former argument (though some of the reaction to this is showing that we might be), so why are we falling for the latter argument.

Also, how much of the way that the AA vote turned out on prop 8 is explainable by the fact that many black churches supported it, and by the fact that the AA community goes to church more often than than any other race?

If we did a regression on these exit polls, and controlled for religion when testing our hypotheses about race, I'm thinking that we would probably not even see a statistically significant result.

The religion argument is just a theory, though, gradstudent. We could also guess they voted for Prop 8 because more AAs listen to gangsta rap and reggae which sometimes calls for the murder of gays and lesbians.

It is just a theory. But it is at least a theory based on reality--we KNOW that church goers voted WAY disproportionately for this. We also KNOW that African Americans go to church in larger numbers than members of any other race. There is definitely cross-correlation there, and it takes careful analysis to pick that apart.

Why are we focusing on the racial aspect of the failure of prop 8, rather than the religious aspect?

It's just wholly stupid to blame blacks for the failure of prop 8.

failure on prop 8, not of (if only it had failed!).

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | November 6, 2008 9:45 PM

"Why are we focusing on the racial aspect of the failure of prop 8, rather than the religious aspect?"

On the face of it, that's a good question. The data can be diced and sliced all kinds of ways, and when we do dice and slice it in different ways, we'll find different correlations.

Still, there's something that's impossible to ignore in this election and the anger that's being elicited among some gay people at the fact that African Americans in California voted in large numbers for proposition 8 while also voting for Obama.

This is the fact that the election is simultaneously a victory for people of color--a well-earned and well-deserved victory--and a defeat for the LGBT community.

And a defeat that many are perceiving to be at the hands of the same people celebrating a victory over historic barriers to inclusion in American society.

I don't say that anger is a justifiable response. I certainly don't see finger pointing as a helpful response.

But anger is a human response. And it doesn't help when members of our own community, for whatever reason, try to shut down the discussion and disqualify those asking for discussion by calling them racists.

In my view, we spend a lot of valuable time within our community drawing lines that place some people on the inside and others on the outside. In doing so, we cripple our community's ability to engage in the kind of serious across-lines discussion that's needed to deal with deep historic gaps between minority communities.

And in doing so, we help those intent on deepening the division between the African American and LGBT community.

Is acrosss-the-lines discussion with every other minority group really necessary for gays and lesbians to achieve their own goals? In other elections there might not be as huge an AA percentage of voters, as with this one, so a Prop 8 wouldn't have passed. Anyway, I believe gay marriage will eventually be legal in this country, since whites under age 30, half of the Latino, and more than half of Asian Americans voted against Prop 8, so...But I personally don't think we have to connect to, relate to, compare ourselves to, or consider ourselves united with every other minority group to achieve the rights we ourselves desire.

reaching out to minority groups should be a positive move in and of itself. the goal of gay marriage shouldn't be the only reason that the lgbt community has an across-the-line discussion. Since the lgbt community is composed of members from a variety of groups, it should be natural to want to gain a better understanding of where everyone is coming from.

And...therefore what would be wrong with finding out and admitting that THIS particular minority group, in general, despises me for what I do and....therefore trying to work on the other groups to vote (re. everything like Prop 8) in larger numbers ? That seems practical to me.

I'm not trying to call most people making this argument racist. What I"m trying to do is to argue that we really do need to look at the causality here. Or at least the associations.

Rather than express anger toward the AA community, perhaps it would be more enlightening to look at WHY they voted the way they did. If we don't understand that, then we don't understand what happened. The religious hypothesis, I think, is a good one, because it explains (at least without doing the actual math) the exit polling, and it gives a similar motivation to both black and white people for voting for/against prop 8. The answer might be that we need to reach out to secular African American organizations.

We happily segregate secular whites from religious whites when analyzing the election. But we refuse to afford that luxury to the black vote--we analyze them as a homogenous voting bloc.

Also, and even more importantly, we are only talking about 10% of the sample in the exit poll--about 224 respondents. That is going to create a pretty large margin of error on the crosstab in the exit polls. They refused to even produce a crosstab for black men.

Reformed Ascetic | November 6, 2008 4:58 PM

I believe it can reasonably be said that the LGBT community as a whole is socially liberal. Not every member, but as a group it is probably reasonable to say.

This is because our issues are defined as socially liberal issues.

This was once so for racial minorities, but as time has passed it has become less so. If I can be forgiven for guessing at the mindset of white LGBTers in general, I think there tends to be an assumption that other minorities are still (or should be) socially liberal. That I’m a minority and you’re a minority so naturally we’re on the same team.

However, the every step of success in fighting racism has also removed it from being seen as social liberalism.

I can understand why people are focusing on the black voters who voted Yes on 8. We all know that fundamentalists are going to vote based on flawed Biblical interpretations. It’s easy to fit them into our expectations and stereotypes – for instance Appalachian hillbilly [by the way, Alex, I am a born and bred Appalachian hillbilly]. But their premise is flawed. Anyone remember Bayard Rustin?

If we want to swing black religious voters to the LGBT cause, we first need to aware that it takes more than announcing, “Hey, I’m a minority too.” If that was all it took, we wouldn’t be having this struggle in this first place.

And by the way could we stop categorizing the southeast as white, racist, redneck, Appalachian hillbillies. Some may well be, but that is also true across the country. The entire country and every race in it has a history of racism. The Klan was bigger in the North than it ever was in the South (in terms of sheer numbers). One of the reasons Southerners are hard to reach, especially by outsiders, is because they are well aware of the way others like to think about them. Attitudes like this do nothing to help.

I can understand why people are focusing on the black voters who voted Yes on 8.

Why? They're not a monolithic group, and any "we're a minority, you're a minority" rhetoric falls flat when the most mainstream and vocal gays tend not to care about racism all that much.

I think that we should reach out to white people as well as black people who voted for this, and move beyond the rhetoric of blame.

And by the way could we stop categorizing the southeast as white, racist, redneck, Appalachian hillbillies. Some may well be, but that is also true across the country. The entire country and every race in it has a history of racism. The Klan was bigger in the North than it ever was in the South (in terms of sheer numbers). One of the reasons Southerners are hard to reach, especially by outsiders, is because they are well aware of the way others like to think about them. Attitudes like this do nothing to help.

Then how do you explain that map at the top?

Reformed Ascetic | November 6, 2008 5:51 PM

No, I'm saying they are not a monolithic group. I pointed this out first and foremost by saying that even the LGBT community is not a monolithic group. I thought I pretty clearly said that I thought the reason many were reacting to this voting pattern as a betrayal was because of preconceived and misapplied stereotypes.

Colorado voted to end affiramtive action. Are they all redneck hillbillies? Are Californians all rednecks? Everybody in Florida? All Nebraskans, or just the ones who voted to end affirmative action, or just some of the ones who did so?

I was just rejected by my nation for being part of the monolithic group of queers. I read an article arguing that people should think carefully about reacting to black religious California voting patterns, which I agreed with and publicly agreed with, but which seemed offhandedly comfortable with casting certain groups in strict roles.

Even though part of my social definition casts me into that group, I didn't take offense, because it is so common. But then I not only saw it reoccurring but growing in the comments.

It's not OK to judge the LGBT community as a monolithic group. It's not OK to look at the voting patterns of some people in California and then class them as a monolithic group. But it is OK to cast whole regions of the country as a monolithic group based on the voting pattern of some in that region.

Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta. Is he a Southerner or not? The black and white Southerners who voted for Obama don't count because they don't fit the model?

The history of Appalachia in the labor and other social movements can be forgotten because it's not how rednecks act now?

Maybe those parts of the map moved toward McCain because the Republicans made them feel understood rather than rejected.

And Maybe it's displaced anger from the last couple of days, but

I refuse to be rejected by my country for being queer and by the queer community for being born in the South.

Well, that map really doesn't show much about the South, more Appalachia and Arkansas, and a little of Texas and Oklahoma.

I don't think that map shows that anything is monolithic. It shows that certain communities trended a certain way. I'm not denying that African Americans trended a certain way either.

What I am saying is that the conclusion that African Americans are either monolithically homophobic or unreachable is absurd. I didn't say that those regions were monolithically racist or unreachable either.

Reformed Ascetic | November 6, 2008 7:56 PM

Appalachian culture follows the mountains and stretches from the very top east corner of Georgia to New York. South Carolina, the rest of Georgia, Middle and West Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas are all generally classed as being part of the Southeast with the variations in culture generally ignored. For instance, East Tennessee clearly belongs to Appalachian culture. West Tennessee is considered part of Mississippi River culture, with far more in common with Louisiana, culturally and demographically, than East Tennessee. Middle Tennessee is part of the more stereotypical “Gone with the Wind” Southern culture. East Tennessee is not only filled with people who have mixed Native American ancestry, but with people who have numbers of relatives in Oklahoma because of the Trail of Tears diaspora (and of course vice versa).

But to begin answering your question. Only a minority of your map shows Appalachia, and that which does shows only a portion of Appalachia. Probably the most interesting portion of your map was the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Why did that trend Republican?

But more interesting was this:

“Without wildly different positions on gay rights issues, the safest assumption is that LGB people, in general, have similar thoughts on race as the average resident of Appalachia or Arkansas.”

Apparently it’s safe making assumptions about what the average resident of Appalachia or Arkansas thinks about race.

Might it be that some of those people who chose to vote for McCain did so for some reason other than race. Rightly or wrongly, could it be that some of them feel rejected by people from other parts of the country. Could it be that some of those people are tired of being made to feel inferior because of their place of birth? That they embrace the Republicans not out of racism, but because the Republicans have made them feel accepted as people. Or could it be for anyone of the many other possible reasons?

White America is not monolithic either. While Southern culture demands that it’s people be quick to make fun of themselves to demonstrate their own modesty, maybe they get tired of everyone else assuming they are inferior. I could make a long list of ways that people assume other parts of American culture are superior to the various parts of Southern culture.

But the most obvious offender is that the average Southerner is racist. Somehow the rest of America chooses to ignore its own history while never allowing the South to grow out of its own.

And somehow people forget that large numbers of Southerners are not white.

No, I do not believe you intended anything pejorative by using the phrase, “the average resident of Appalachia or Arkansas.” You are clearly not responsible for any similar comment made by another. And you are not responsible for pointing out every stereotype made by another even if it’s that those counties on the map were “white racist Southern counties.” However, it strikes the same cultural chord as any other negative stereotype.

And I am trying to tell you, that I truly believe that my first hand experience tells me that one of the reasons the GOP is doing so well in these areas is that they are successfully portraying themselves as accepting of Southern PEOPLE and liberals as dismissive of Southern PEOPLE. And that if we want to fight this we need to understand that stereotypes come in all shapes and sizes.

The Gore family was a generational political legacy in East Tennessee. But you will notice that part of your map is pretty red now.

The GOP speaks to these people as if they are speaking to the best part of their natures, and clearly tells them that liberals despise them.

No one will ever reach them if their language hints at notions of inferiority.

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | November 6, 2008 8:46 PM

Ascetic, I appreciate your call to move beyond stereotypes.

But as someone living in Arkansas, who is a native of the state, I have to conclude that the counties that went more Republican in this election than the last did so primarily because they are, indeed, largely white and for racist reasons.

For anyone following the political conversation in Arkansas in recent months, the role of racism in this election is impossible to ignore. Or do you know of another way to account for polls showing that, if Hilary Clinton had been the Democratic candidate, she would have carried Arkansas?

Reformed Ascetic | November 6, 2008 9:48 PM

I have spent some time working in Arkansas, but I have never lived there. Nor have I been following any polls specific to Arkansas, or more specifically the ones you cite regarding pssible success for Hillary.

I am trying to be as honest as possible in saying that I can't really answer your question intelligently based on personal experience or recent study.

But what I want to say is this. I know racism is alive and well. I know that racism and ethnocentrism occurs in all people's around the globe, and often manifests in an ugly manner.

More specifically, I know that racism against blacks perpetrated by whites exists in America, all of America, and in this case specifically in the South. I have lived through some astoundingly ugly manifestations of it.

Without checking, I accept your analysis of the polling data that racism played a significant negative factor in some areas of Arkansas. Just as it played a significant positive factor in other parts.

But I am saying that if you want to get anywhere in those counties in the future, it will not be accomplished by pigeonholing everyone there as a racist.

Walking into a black church this Sunday morning in California and declaring, "Look, I know all you guys are homophobes, but..."

I know we all tend to relax our language at times. I know that its hard to catch everything every time we speak. I am sure someone could either pick apart or take offense to something I've said here today.

But we are discussing how to make inroads to targeted demographic groups.

One thing I'm saying is that if we start off on the wrong foot we'll never get there.

And another is that religious (especially fundamentalist) people and Southern people have already been successfully targeted by the GOP. Much liberal history was written by Southerners. There are entire branches of Southern churches that were liberal to start and are ultra-conservative now. We don't have to invent new tactics, just turning the strategies the GOP used to capture these groups against themselves will recapture some and pull others to the middle.

Even being marginally successful means splitting the GOP base.

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | November 6, 2008 10:08 PM

Thanks, Ascetic, I take your point and I largely agree with it. Perhaps I did "relax my language" in a discussion in which I wasn't addressing my fellow white Arkansans, but was dealing with questions of how to build bridges between the LGBT community and the black community.

Surely the concern here is to deal with tensions between the African-American and the gay community? I certainly do what I can do, constantly, to reach beyond the barriers that divide white Southern folks and the LGBT community. And I understand the dynamics that have turned white Southerners to the Republican party.

But right now, frankly, I have the feeling that white Southerners who chose the Republican party in this election will have to sort out the choices they made, while the rest of us try to rebuild the nation.

And the rebuilding process can't avoid the considerable tensions now building between the African-American and the gay community, over what happened with proposition 8. As I say in another posting here, over and beyond the question of who is "responsible" for prop 8's win (and I think that's far from a one-issue question), there's understandable reaction to the fact that a significant proportion of black voters went both for Obama and proposition 8.

Reformed Ascetic | November 6, 2008 10:34 PM

I agree I have been surprised at the amount of public tension resulting from the way the voting fell.

Recriminations about shooting ourselves in the foot. Feelings of betrayal. Etc.

Right now I don't even trust myself to make a lot of clear headed judgments about exactly what happened.

Personally, I'm excited about the public protests, but worried about the people I'm hearing talking about giving up.

I think we'll eventually come out stronger for all this.

But right now I feel like crap and I'm just glad I have you guys, among others, to share this with.

Explain how a white 58% support approximates a 69%.

There are also some factors that have not been included: The prevalence of discrimination narrative in each category. Care to tell me in which of those groups does a close history of discrimination run in? Because, from what I can tell, most of the groups you selected are Caucasian in majority; they have not the slightest bit of encounter with social discrimination that African Americans have faced.

I trend towards Lindsey's post: There is blame on both side. And yet, all I've heard are comments about how just one side is responsible for the falling apart of the movement.

Explain how a white 58% support approximates a 69%.

The exit polling didn't show that 58% of white people voted for prop 8. Unless you're referring to my statement about white protestants, in which case the number was 65%. I think 65 and 69 are comparable numbers.

There are also some factors that have not been included: The prevalence of discrimination narrative in each category. Care to tell me in which of those groups does a close history of discrimination run in? Because, from what I can tell, most of the groups you selected are Caucasian in majority; they have not the slightest bit of encounter with social discrimination that African Americans have faced.

What does that have to do with anything? Just because someone's been discriminated against in one way doesn't mean that they have to come out in support of another group. It means that they have to be engaged like everyone else.

But the second part of that paragraph says it all. You recognize that all those other groups are mostly white. But you ignore them and obsess over the black group. Why is that?

No. The 58% in support on the ban on adoption, which I still have to understand as to why you presented it as a parallel. Why not take the exit polls for marriage amendment bans, which present a closer comparison?

As for having faced discrimination, one would assume it would develop an attitude toward discrimination. It's not coming out in support; it's the willingness to do the very thing which you've been subjected to and constantly rage against.

Re: Obsession. Right. Why do I obsess on religion as an atheist; why do I ignore secular folks who vote for discrimination? That means I obsess over anything that I don't mention. If I talk about gay rights, I'm not talking about other rights. Why don't I talk all about human rights, and instead obsess over gay rights? I don't mention how I like brunettes while I talk about my attraction for red-heads; why do I obsess over red-heads?

See where it goes? Just because I don't mention something doesn't mean I don't have something to say about it. Taking your line of logic, why do you obsess about talking only about the failings of the No On 8 Campaign, instead of looking to other factors that contributed to the defeat regardless of its efforts? Why do you obsess in asserting that the highest fundraising and outreach campaign in all of the gay movement was a failure? People keep asserting that it's all gay people's fault; I'd love to see you go to the roganizers' faces and tell them that. Tell them how sitting and blogging away has given you insight into how they fail at their jobs.

You keep insisting about serious lack of outreach to minorities. Have you worked in these organizations? I want you to explain on what basis do you claim that these folks are incompetent at running organizations. Give me YOUR experience, which supposedly allows you to pass judgement on the labor of gay rights leaders.

I've been writing here for years, Lucrece, and I think you know my experiences.

None of this is an attack on the people who ran the campaign, but, let's face it, it did fail to achieve it's stated goal. Prop 8 passed. It's not an obsession to point that out.

We need to have a clear discussion of what happened in order to improve for the future. I don't think the idea, though, of stopping outreach to African American communities is a good idea.

I don't think that ignoring that there are underlying problems in how the outreach should be planned is a good idea, either.

We see little outreach here to the Dobson ilk for a reason. It's ineffective. As long as we continue to tip-toe around inherent problems in each community-- in this case, how to address religious, patriarchal norms in black culture-- all the outreach in the world will fail. Thoughtful discussions are not possible when the focus lies on seeing dissent as an attack to one's identity, which patriarchy and religious fervor create.

It failed to reach their goal, but I find it a stretch to presume about its failures when one was not a participant in the campaign. Furthermore, it's failure was a "close" one at that--4%-- and partly due to the 50% turnout in San Francisco from lazy voters who only cared about Obama. Not much the campaign could do for these people.

Reformed Ascetic | November 6, 2008 9:20 PM

No group should be ignored. Including the Dobson ilk. Though I agree that the biggest gains are not going to be made with the truly fundamentalist.

I have to speak with fundamentalists almost daily. And have for the majority of my life.

Turning your back on them not only gives up any gains which may have been made, it cedes the religious middle ground.

But you have to speak to them in their own language. You have to respect them and talk to them in a way that not only shows you understand their values, but provides them a way within their own value system to act as you wish.

Fundamentalist families have relatives and other loved ones they know to be LGBT. There is certainly emotional dissonance here that must be resolved in some fashion. Most people will reach for the least stressful solution, the one that requires them to change the least number of their beliefs and feelings. If the only people providing them with solutions are anti-gay leaders, there will only ever be one outcome. If you can provide them with a way to retain their positive feeling for their loved ones and maintain thier sense of being many will reach for it.

This is why the fear attacks are used. It doesn't matter that no one wants to force fundamentalist churches to perform gay marriages, or marry any particular straight couple for that matter, they are telling their people you will lose it all, you will lose yourself.

No, you will not convince everyone. Some will continue to resist even if they feel the emotional pull. But just by engaging them in a way they can understand, you capture half of the people in the middle. If you are successful in being more rational, but more importantly more personally appealing, you can start moving beyond that.

And by creating dissension and confusing the language of fundamentalist rhetoric, you make it easier for people to violate the traditional fundamentalist party position.

Ask John Corvino.

And what message do you send when you validate their notion that everything needs to be argued on the grounds of their values. What happens to the notion that America has no official religion or culture?

At some point, people need to learn that they cannot impose their beliefs on others. Who knows when this point will be driven home?

Reformed Ascetic | November 6, 2008 10:25 PM

Actually that is exactly one of the arguments I have used quite a lot lately.

But I phrase it in some form of the following:

No, I absolutely do not have the right to tell you and your church what to believe. For instance, your church has the right to decide who, when and if it will marry any two people. Many churches have strict rules about who they will and will not marry. Some will marry non-members, some won't. Some will marry people who have been divorced, some won't.

I don't see a problem with previously divorced people marrying, and even though to me this seems like a relic from previous generations. These churches have the right to make that decision and no one can force them to do otherwise. These churches can make that decision because of separation of church and state.

If a church chose to preach racism from the pulpit, they would have that right. And some do.

Many Christian churches not only accept gay congregants, but celebrate marrying them. These Christians believe very strongly that they are following the Christian teachings about love.

They have no right to tell you how to practice your religion. Why do you have the right to tell them how to practice theirs?

Why does your church get to practice its religion its own way, but mine doesn't? You're free to think we're wrong. But you don't have the right to stop us from practicing our religion the way we truly believe is right.

----First, I apologize because I realize the above is stilted, and I know this example is simplistic, but I'm hoping you get the point even if I made it poorly.

You would be surprised, I sincerely hope you would, how many people are not aware of even these basic things.

And I'm not saying such things are a magic bullet, but I have seen it be successful. And I have seen such allow people who continued to profess anti-gay beliefs at least an excuse to get out of the way.

Reformed Ascetic | November 6, 2008 10:40 PM

Frankly, I'm hoping that the lawsuits in California work and that they set the stage for broadening the legal battle across the country.

But even if it does, we will be more successful by stealing back religious language from those who have co-opted it.

At least, I truly believe it's necessary.

Remember racism was strongly propped up by religion not too long ago. Part of the reason for the visibility of black religious leaders was to remove this crutch.

Alex, I think you missed a lot in the update from WeHo...

First of all, the speak was Latino. So I doubt he was inciting a White Power Rally.

The point of his speech was simply to say we cannot just assume people will support our civil rights 'just because they've been through the same struggle'. We have to earn that support.

And we earn that support by putting aside our own prejudices and racism.

Well, I got emailed elsewhere and I took it down for other reasons.

So, yeah. I'll concede that I don't know enough about this person and the context to interpret correctly.

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | November 6, 2008 5:25 PM

"I trend towards Lindsey's post: There is blame on both side. And yet, all I've heard are comments about how just one side is responsible for the falling apart of the movement."

Thanks, Lucrece. The finger pointing seems self-defeating to me. It's very evident that the LDS church (which discriminated against people of color for years, ironically) played a key role in helping defeat proposition 8.

But so did the Catholic church. The Knights of Columbus dumped a million dollars in the state to fight gay rights. The bishops of California issued letters instructing Catholics to vote for proposition 8.

In other words, there are multiple groups that need to be engaged, if we're going to defeat discrimination. What I'm calling into question is the narrow tendency in my own community, the LGBT community, to try to shut off the conversations that are necessary to engage these issues effectively, on multiple fronts.

I will admit I have a certain sensitivity, as a white man living in the mid-South, to what seems to me a knee-jerk response of some people of color and some in the LGBT community, which tells white people to stay out of discussions of race--especially if we have Southern roots.

Our histories are often richer than our "tags" suggest. My work for two decades in HBCUs creates a bridge in my own life to address both racial issues and LGBT ones. In fact, it was my commitment to combating racism (as a gay man not yet even fully aware of his orientation) that led me to work in HBCUs.

But that same work also opened my eyes to the depths of homophobia in the African-American community, and I don't see how we can get around that topic, if we want to collaborate as marginalized communities in the agenda of change under an exciting new president.

The religious right is already hard at work to spin a new narrative about resistance of black Obama supporters to gay rights. If we are simply silent about this, if we can't talk among ourselves, if we keep using ideological guns to shoot each other down when someone we consider non-pc opens her/his mouth, then we're playing right into the hands of those who want to pit us against each other to control all of us.

Exactly. In Alex's exchange with Ascetic, I noticed the irony of telling someone to not discuss the perceived issues of a group as if it were monolithic--solely based on some data-- and then he proceeded to do that to a whole block of people based on the region they lived in. Ascetic caught this, perceptively.

This seem to be an issue. A dogma is established on some circles as to what discussions can be had, and in what tone and context they can be had. Sadly, that ends up alienating a sector that happens to be necessary to achieve goals. If we keep telling white gays "It's all your fault; and I don't want to hear a peep from you because your privileged and inherently ignorant based on your heritage", all we're going to achieve is to create the same alienation people keep going on about when they say we need to reach out to minorities.

Spelling and grammar are not being friendly to me today. Apologies for any purists offended by my uncaught errors.

Reformed Ascetic | November 6, 2008 6:23 PM

Thanks Lucrece.

I'm surprised, Lucrece, that you're more concerned that language that calls white gays out for racism will alienate gays, but you're not at all concerned that rhetoric that paints blacks as monolithically homophobic will alienate black straight people.

Well, not that shocked.

Speaking of painting groups of people as monolithic, you're not one to talk. It just matters which one you "obsess" on.

I was rude, apologies. I should've mustered something more than a retort.

I'm not shocked that you misrepresent me as being "more concerned" about one issue than the other. Keeping in spirit of the conversation, my comment reflected that we can't ignore either side. Not the side of racist rhetoric, nor the snide, resentful rhetoric aimed at people who happen to be part of a majority group.

And I fail to see how "It's all your fault; you're privileged, so shut up and stay out of the discussion" is calling out whites for racism. If anything, it's a self-defeating view that tries to remedy one situation with an elitism of its own.

As for turning off straight black people: Shall we also scratch any mention of males being more supportive of anti-gay mentions? We might paint straight males as a monolithic group; and thus, alienate them in the process. Really, though: Are we painting straight males and straight blacks as generally unreceptive to gay causes? Or does the data represent a reality.

I'm well aware generalizations are disliked, and that there are always exceptions, but I don't see how pointing out the trends, and what problems they represent, is intentional alienation of people.

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | November 6, 2008 6:58 PM

Lucrece, I'm struck by your use of the word "dogma."

Yes, that's part of why I'm probing these issues. I sense that there are certain dogmatic stances about who can say what re: which particular issue.

I tend to push against that kind of dogmatism wherever I encounter it.

And I think it's really counterproductive in our community and for our struggle. Ironically, it plays right into the hands of the spinmeisters of the religious right who want to play African Americans and the gay community against each other.

What's ironic is that those engaging in the dogmatic suppression of conversation often depict themselves as progressives--though the ends they're achieving in suppressing dialogue and marginalizing folks for incidental reasons (e.g., where we live, what we look like, whether we're on the A list) are precisely the ends the religious right is trying to achieve!

AAh the liberal understanding gays, never can blame black people for their own bigotry. That is condescending, black people were not the only one who supported this but their vote surprised the hell out of me. I refuse to back down and meekly ask for anyone's forgiveness. Gays were the ones wronged. I used to consider myself a liberal Dem., but no more if it means be weak, and turning a blind eye to injustice.

We're trying to learn what we can from this and see what we can do to improve in the future. No one's asking you to leave behind your feelings of injustice, but sitting around and blaming entire populations for voting the way they did isn't going to help anything.

brownstocking | November 7, 2008 8:40 PM

Thanks, Dave. I think your opinion is valid. Just as mine of not being able to have whites as allies is valid. We've seen some things, been disappointed. We form opinions based on them.

Not sure why the Black vote surprised you, though...?

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | November 6, 2008 6:52 PM

For what it's worth, I've continued developing my thoughts on these topics, and have just posted them as a posting on my blog at

The page does not exist.

William D. Lindsey William D. Lindsey | November 6, 2008 7:58 PM

Lucrece, thanks for letting me know. I'll try again. If the first url doesn't work, then I hope the second will:

Works. I'll bookmark it and read it after I'm done with some work I need to clear out ;)

my comments and thoughts are quite obvious on PHB in the thread noted for the quote pulled.

I'm gonna say this much here, which I haven't said there, but should have.

one year later, now you know how the trans community felt one year back.



Actually, they are unlikely to make the connection. Gay folks are renowned for their inability to connect the dots on oppressions they themselves do not experience. With precious few exceptions, gay understanding and empathy never leave their own skins.

So, I seriously doubt they will learn anything from this. But, you can bank on them repeating history and dishing out opression over...and over.

4 decades of history teach us this well.

Personally, I'm much more pissed at the Mormons, Catholics and Evangelicals than African-Americans, hispanics or gays. The #1 driving force behind the black vote was the black churches - same as the Catholic church for Latinos, and Evangelicals and Mormons for the white folk. The churches are the common denominator - not race.

Can we be totally sure the number one force behind the AA vote was its churches? I don't doubt that was a part of it, but there are other non-religious aspects to that community that are virulently homophobic. Ever listen to some gangsta rap, or reggae?////Also, just because a church tells you to go a certain way, one can make up ones own mind. Though I don't know for sure, I'm assuming many of the Caucasian and Asian voters who voted "no" also belong to houses of worship which advised them otherwise.

Reformed Ascetic | November 7, 2008 1:53 PM

You are right that there is more than one force at work.

However, I believe the LGBT community is quite active and prepared to deal with social forces. We seem to have been doing that for years with an amazing amount of success. It may well not be progressing as fast as we might like, but in some ways it may well be progressing faster than the correlated parts of the black civil rights struggle.

The other main force appears to be religious intransigence. And here I am not sure that we as a community have concentrated enough energy. We are seeing some religious denominations take some noteworthy positive stands, but it seems primarily driven by people who happen to be on the inside and active.

We hear personal stories all the time about people with religious conservative relatives. And I applaud these people for their perseverance, but as a group what are we doing to help them. Soulforce always captures headlines in the gay news, but they appear to an awfully small organization compared to the LGBT community.

It's easy to turn our backs on religious conservatives, and on a personal level if it makes your life easier I would encourage you to do so, but we can't get where we are going without capturing some of the religious territory.

Just like the DNC came to regret writing off parts of the nation, I fear that we have written off religious voters and ceded all the territory.

I have not seen any comments on how the Democratic party mailed out sample ballots in CA telling their registered voters how to vote. I know of several folks who said they were taking what was mailed to them to the polling booth so they could vote along party lines. The mailer marked YES on Prop 8. Whats up with that?

Okay so I just checked the website for the CA Dems..they did recommend to vote no on 8. Sorry Dems! And to think that was my first time making a comment! I was not properly informed.


Aside from the main issue (which you couldn't pay me to touch with a ten-foot vibrating pole):

If I understand the purpose of your Kerry-versus-Obama map, you're saying that 5% of all LGB voters turned racist the moment a black man was in the running?

If that's what you mean, then it's a pretty clever way to make your point -- by throwing the broadbrush right back at LGBs. If you're not just being clever, and actually believe it, then, well, obviously, you're being just as unfair to LGBs as many LGBs are being to AAs.

Not that you asked, but I'll be happy to tell you why I voted for John Kerry in 2004, but not for Barack Obama in 2008: You say they had no "wildly different positions on gay rights issues," but you ignore the fact that their tactics were, indeed, wildly different. Obama sacrificed us (oh, please don't make me rehash Donnie McClurkin, Doug Kmiec, etc., etc.) very publicly, and consistently, to "reach out" to unapologetically, activist anti-gay, conservative, churchgoing voters, and quietly ignored our very vocal outrage.

Did it work? Sure did: Obama won (at what cost? well, my vote, for one), while Kerry lost.

Now, before anyone jumps down my throat for being a "one-issue" voter, I'll go on record here and repeat what I've said/written many times: I am in the safest blue state of all: California (not that CA is safe for queers anymore, but that's another story). If I knew that my one vote in 17 million (I think that's the number of reg'd voters in CA) would have kept McCain-Palin the hell out of the White House, I would have voted... well, not for Obama, but given Obama my vote, solely against McCain.

So, who did I vote for? McKinney-Clemente. Not because they're women, not because one is black and the other is Latina, and not as a protest vote. I voted for them because they represent my core values light-years ahead of Obama-Biden. And, being in California, because I had that luxury to vote third-party, without a lick of worry or guilt.

So you can take me out of the "gays went racist" stats -- it didn't happen here.

Okay, I'm trying quite hard to read your American slang English. I'm finding it quite difficult to understand because you're mixing American slang along with pseudo-academic discourse and this jumping of registers is totally confusing me.

I haven't even gotten to the heart of your argument yet and I'm writing this comment to let you know that I'm finding it difficult to understand. And I'm a graduate student ;-) Okay...back to reading the, IMHO, somewhat convoluted delivery style.

Thelea Draganic | November 8, 2008 2:34 AM

I am upset about this erroneous finger pointing at African-Americans regarding Proposition 8. Why are you so quick to believe whatever you hear? If someone told me 70 percent of gay people voted against Obama my first thought would be, excuse me Jesus, that is crap! I don't believe it! This political year was fraught with right wing lies. Bear that in mind.

"Religious organizations that support Proposition 8 include the Roman Catholic Church], Knights of Columbus, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) a group of Evangelical Christians led by Jim Garlow and Miles McPherson, American Family Association, Focus on the Family[and the National Organization for Marriage Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, California's largest, has also endorsed the measure. The Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the proposition. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has publicly supported the proposition and encouraged their membership to support it, by asking its members to donate money and volunteer time. The First Presidency of the church announced its support for Proposition 8 in a letter read in every congregation. Latter-day Saints have provided a significant source for financial donations in support of the proposition, both inside and outside the State of California. About 45% of out-of-state contributions to Protect has come from Utah, over three times more than any other state."

Still, even though gays were fighting to preserve a basic right, it was the anti-equality side in California that seemed to have the most fervor. A symbolic low point for the gay side came on Oct. 13, when the Sacramento Bee ran a remarkable story about Rick and Pam Patterson, a Mormon couple of modest means - he drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic, she raises their five boys - who had withdrawn $50,000 from their savings account and given it to the pro-8 campaign. "It was a decision we made very prayerfully," Pam Patterson, 48, told the Bee's Jennifer Garza. "Was it an easy decision? No. But it was a clear decision, one that had so much potential to benefit our children and their children.”

This is your real enemy. Don't trust exit polls taken when many of these same groups taking them were angry with African-Americans about Obama beating their Christian Right coalition messiah ie Sarah Palin. I think they are pitting one group against the other. African-Americans are less than 7% of the state population, do the math. And they do not have the money to fund a tens of millions of dollars Proposition 8 campaign. Note that they also targeted affirmative action for eradication in another state.

Rather than be upset at the phantom African-American menace, put forth a gay candidate for office and fight like hell. No one gave Obama anything and they will not give gays anything either. Obama stands on the shoulders of a lot of brave people who gave their lives for him to stand on that podium last night.

Never trust exits polls because in all my years of life, no one has ever been seen at a polling place asking anyone anything when they left.

Live by the collectivist sword, die by the collectivist sword.

Prop 8 passed in large part because Leftists are simply not credible advocates for individual rights, as hostile as they are to that very concept. Gay marriage is an individual right.

Prop 8, on the other hand, is DEMOCRACY IN ACTION, which the Left (at least the American version) loves to trumpet when it's any individual right they do not find politically expedient -- which is usually all of them.

So what do we get in the aftermath, now that democracy has rendered its verdict? Instead of pulling the knife out of their backs, identifying its source, and repudiating it -- gays continue thinking in terms set by the Left, and accordingly start putting knives in black backs instead.

In West Hollywood, there were only Leftists present. But instead of peace and love, nothing but the N- word and the F- word all over the place!

Nice people. Nice world you're building for us.

Welcome to the Left's end-of-road. Brothers, you asked for it!

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 9, 2008 4:34 PM

Prop 8 passed in large part because Leftists are simply not credible advocates for individual rights, as hostile as they are to that very concept. Gay marriage is an individual right.

Say what?! Leftists are hostile to individual rights? Gay marriage is an individual right. Therefore, leftists were not for gay marriage?

Aside from the fact that marriage, as an institution, is much more than "an individual right," you fail to support your argument with any sort of evidence.

I'd say that's because the evidence, namely that the Left is a movement more or less founded on supporting individual and group rights, proves your argument false.

The Time for Waiting is Over!
The Time for Action is NOW!

(Oklahoma City) A recent joint press release from Equality California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center , and the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Center is counseling that ""We achieve nothing if we isolate the people who did not stand with us in this fight. We only further divide our state if we attempt to blame people of faith, African American voters, rural communities and others for this loss."

I disagree completely. No longer, no longer, no longer must religion be used as the cudgel to separate any person from their legal rights of fair treatment and protection under the law.

I walked by a religious proselytizer today in downtown Oklahoma City. I had seen him yesterday when he made a speech for Gee-sus on the bus I was riding. Today, though, he was on the sidewalk and said to me, "Did you know God loves you?"

I looked him in the eye for a few seconds and replied, "F*** off!", and walked away.

I've never acted that way to a stranger before and depending on the perceived physical danger to me, it won't be the last time I respond to an uninvited encounter with a proselytizer.

Religion has and continues to be the major block to the implementation of rights for gay/lesbian citizens because of what we do in private and who we love in public.

Religion was the chain around the necks of slaves, it's been the chastity belt forced on women's reproductive choice, and it's been the closed book preventing the age-appropriate teaching of responsible sexual information to children.

Religion instructs the empty-headed to fear our differentness, to treat us with disrespect--and with barely concealed contempt--to encourage violence against our property and bodies.

We gays/lesbians are far too complacent, accepting, and willing in our own disenfranchisement from our birth right as citizens.

I welcome the peaceful protests in California and elsewhere that are demanding the protection and benefits of the laws that are applied to others but not to us.

Our self-appointed equality leaders who counsel shyness and acceptance of a later time should act like leaders or get out of our way. The time is long past for coyness and politeness.

Dr. M. L. King said it best in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail", April 16, 1963 with this paragraph:

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant 'Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
( )

With the immorally presented kangaroo-court vote that passed Prop 8 in California and with other anti-gay measures in Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas, I think we gays/lesbians have waited long enough. Let the marches continue!

And as we march, let's take our chant from the newly-elected President Obama's campaign--Yes, we can!

How about attacking Jewish people who didn't vote against prop 8 who also where/are discriminated against and had a hard plight in life.

This is not a race issue it's a religious issue, and until the "LBGT" understand that's what they are coming against they will be forever LOST.

It think it's funny and peculiar as an African American that White people just assumed many Black people would overlook their religion and support them.

And though I would have voted against this proposition because I believe in spiritual freedom, the discrimination Black people have and do face is NOT supported by the Bible or constitution.

So all I can say is this community has gotten an awakening where they should now know that this is a religious based war, not one based on humanity and sympathy alone.

quotes where used from Martin Luther King Jr., do you truly believe in your heart that a Souther, Religious Black man such as himself would have DEFINITELY voted against this?

You have to hit the problem at the core, and stop assuming things. Church and Religion is very powerful.

Alex, I read through every one of these comments, so I'm sorry if I repeating this. But if black people are so homophobic, how come the California counties w/the most amount of blacks - Alameda and San Francisco County - OVERWHELMINGLY defeated Prop 8? And why is the entire black race taking shit for 224 people?

Good questions, Jennifer. I also wonder why these people who insist on 'calling out' Black people based on those polls think that they are at all helping the efforts of Black SGL activists who are actually trying to work within their communities.

I don't think it's bigotry, whether the "I'm not PC claim" is appended or not, to note the number of black ticket-splitters.

That, in turn, is not a comment on African-Americans in general, but the still-baneful and still-pervasive influence of the black church. Beyond the stereotypes of "sex on the down low" is a reality that drives it.

So, too, is the number of black churches/church leaders who still have conspiracy theories about AIDS. Hello, Rev. Wright, I hear you out in the hallway.

That said, on my blog, I said black ticket-splitters were one part of the problem and not the whole problem.

Obama himself was a problem. He had plenty of clear comments against gay marriage on file, and the No on 8 spot he cut was late and lethargic.

Even more to blame on "our own side," though? Gavin Newsom. His "in your grille" attitude, IMO, personalized the whole vote, and gave many people who might have listened to reason, or else not voted, perhaps, the opportunity to say "Eff you, San Francisco."

The lateness to the fray of other progressives was also a problem.