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70% of African Americans backed Prop. 8, exit poll finds

A lot of Obama/Yes-on-8 voters? The Associated Press exit polls show that African Americans and Latinos backed Proposition 8 in good numbers. Details here from AP:

California's black and Latino voters, who turned out in droves for Barack Obama, also provided key support in favor of the state's same-sex marriage ban. Seven in 10 black voters backed a successful ballot measure to overturn the California Supreme Court's May decision allowing same-sex marriage, according to exit polls for The Associated Press.

More than half of Latino voters supported Proposition 8, while whites were split. Religious groups led the tightly organized campaign for the measure, and religious voters were decisive in getting it passed. Of the seven in 10 voters who described themselves as Christian, two-thirds backed the initiative. Married voters and voters with children strongly supported Proposition 8. Unmarried voters were heavily opposed.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (399)

"For some of us it is an issue of religion and cannot get past the point that acts of homosexuality are seen as unGodly by most."

But you're not allowed to force your religion on me. I'm straight but MY definition of marriage isn't the same as your religions. I know several religious people who were against 8 because they feared what it meant to their own religious freedoms if we don't separate church and state.

"just do not ask to make it a legal thing or compare it to racism"
So the threats, the beatings, the deaths... not the same when it happens to gays for being gay as when it happens to blacks for being black?

"Hell a gay white man always was in front of me when it came to the picking order in America"
It happened to me, so it's someone else's turn. Nice.

For all those who say this is not about rights but about religion:
Slaveowners would have said the same thing. They looked to the Bible and found support for their prejudices. The truth is, religious conviction should not be used to deny another person equal treatment under the law: gay straight black white purple or whatever else. Your religious belief that homosexuality is sinful does not justify the government in discriminating against gays any more than whites' religious belief in their superiority justified their oppression of blacks.

Equal rights means I can't marry another man just like a gay man can't marry another man. The homosexual community is asking for "special" rights, not equal rights.
The people of California have spoken - twice. Please hear that!

Samuelberg, I can't point out any "gay only" drinking fountains or "gay only" lunch counters. But I can tell you where the "straight-only" marriage signs are: on every courthouse in this state.

You see, the signs for gays are invisible to straights. There's the "No gays holding hands in the park or you'll get the crap beaten out of you" sign. There's the "Don't let the landlord know you're gay or you might not get the apartment" sign. And then there's this sign: "If you're on a business lunch with a client and he mentions his wife, don't ever, EVER mention your boyfriend in return. If you must mention him, always refer to him as your 'friend.' Don't let him know you're gay."

Oh, there's signs up all over the place, Samuelberg. You just don't see them because you're not gay.

But you sort of illustrate what I said in another post. Blacks are always trying to "one-up" other minority groups.

D.D., you said, "Ok. I'm religious and I agree that gays are as equal as everyone else. Also I believe that marriage is between the opposite sex."

Everybody says that, but no one can ever come up with a REASON why they believe gays should not be married. "That's the way it's always been" is not a reason.

There's only one reason anyone would believe that: because you think that a gay relationship is not as VALID as a heterosexual relationship. And if you believe that, I'm sorry, but you ARE prejudiced. Very simple. Case closed.

Seven in 10 black voters backed Proposition 8?

Wow, thanks a lot guys.


Anonymous said: "Some still believe in the traditional definition of marriage; that it's between a man and a woman. The belief is not based in religion - it's a personal belief. That does not make those individuals wrong, ignorant, hateful, or bigoted. They just don't believe in your cause."

Fine, but express that belief by not engaging in same-sex marriage YOURSELF. What you are doing is forcing your will on others. No one is trying to make YOU marry someone of the same sex.

Again, someone, please tell me: WHY don't you believe in gay marriage? Give me a succinct, logical reason. So far, I have never heard anyone do this.

All these charges of racism. Where? Where is the racism in any of these posts? How is stating a fact -- that 70% of blacks voted for Prop 8 and less than 50% of whites voted for it -- how is that racism? That's all anyone has said. Apparently we're supposed to ignore facts now. Don't you think that's taking political correctness to new heights?

If Obama had lost, do you think you'd be pointing out the percentage of whites that voted against him? You know very well you would. Oh, but THAT would be okay.

Gosh, I wish I were black, so any time anyone had any criticism of me, valid or not, I could just accuse them of racism. Ah, that must be wonderful.

To Black Christians:

Matthew 18:25: "But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made."

Slavery, right there, in the bible. Guess the slaveowners were right by your logic -- after all it's in the bible!

Most of the comments I've read here assume that there's a divide between Black/Mormon/Pentescostal on the one hand and Gay on the other. But there are many people who are Black/Mormon/Pentecostal AND Gay. There are probably some who are all three! I hope they'll take advantage of this opportunity to come out and show their communities that the passage of Proposition 8 adversely affects their own polity, not just some adverse bunch of "perverts." As for the effect of Proposition 8 on children, those who claim they want to protect their children from exposure to homosexuality are assuming that their children will grow up straight. Many of them will not, and will have to overcome the bigotry of their own families before they can find peace and happiness in their own lives. And then there are the children of same-sex couples (most of whom will grow up straight) who will suffer and are suffering from the nascent homophobia of their schoolmates, as well as the adverse press their beloved and loving parents are receiving.

In addition to religion, this is an issue of education. The Black Community is less educated than the White Community. 49% of White people voted for this anti-Gay initiative in California while 70% of Black voters voted for it. But time is on our side. The ignorant will eventually awaken.

Maybe it's time to start gathering signatures to outlaw marriages between blacks and whites as well as Latinos and whites. When that proposition passes, maybe blacks and Latinos will understand that gay marriage is a civil rights issue. The gay community has had enough of supporting the rights of minorities and then getting stabbed in return.

"given that homosexual couples cannot breed without artificial assistance, nor can form a family as has been biologically or traditionally understood since the beginning of time, why should a preferred status be accorded them?"

Preferred status? I'm straight and while I was around for the beginning of time, since the beginning of my life I was taught to treat everyone as equal so I've always letting them marry same as I can isn't preferred, it's EQUAL. MY definition of marriage was NEVER what yours was even though I was raised in a Christian church. So your beliefs are more important than mine? What if my religion says men can't choose their own wives do I get a law? Or maybe one that says women aren't allowed an eduction? We have separation of church and state for a reason. And the judges ruled on the last discrimination case for a reason, clearly voters don't understand that.

And by the way, many straight couples cannot breed without artificial assistance either or have no intent to. Will you have a doctor checking out my uterus if I go apply for a marriage license?

When people compare the 2 situations, they are not implying a degree of horror. Blacks are offended because they have been treated the worst in US history. However, the comparison is not around the degree of the burn -- it is around the tactics of the oppressors and the harmful results on human lives. Oppression is wrong. The group harmed is forced to live lesser lives in order to appease the misconceptions of the majority. Does it really matter to you just how "harmed' they are?

If someone asked you, "Look, you were treated horribly and there still are issues. But today, a certain group in Country X are also treated wrongly. They are treated like 2nd class citizens in terms of housing, marriage, jobs, and the financial benefits provided through the common government. This is done in the name of moral superiority of Country X's good book and religion. Is this wrong?"

Who would not say, "This is wrong"?

If it were women and the Taliban? Hutus and Tutsis? The USSR and Christians? Britain and Indians? The USA and Indians? Down syndrome children and the school system in the 50's? People with AIDS and nurses in the 80's? Palestinians and Israelis? Mormons and the other Christians of early American History?

Gays are asking Blacks and Latinos anyone with religious lives to understand the parallels with the tactics, underlying bigotry, and results of this discrimination. Gays are asking other groups to understand that when one group is oppressed, we are all oppressed. Gays are asking these groups to understand that WE ARE THE ONES that are the current recipients of a huge chunk of hatred and bigotry in this country today. Do you care how big a chunk?

Please don't count the hangings and beatings, lost jobs and lost opportunities, lost marriages and lost children, hours of fear of being allowed to be oneself openly, lost financial benefits, lost rights to immigrate, harm ad nauseu, as the measures of your compassion. You cannot pile these horrors on 2 sides of the scales of Justice and wait to see which way it tips. Justice cannot be measured in this way.

Standing up for someone else does not diminish the horrors of you experience, it honors it.

Can anyone tell me what a christian is or looks like? I've heard of them but in my 45 years of living I still don't know any or ever encountered one much less seen one.

Very interesting comments thread.

A couple of things seem clear:

-The No on 8 campaign failed on a massive scale to address this problem it faced among the black community, where its challenges should have been obvious from the onset. What were they thinking?

-That said, even the Yes on 8 backers must realize that they are on the wrong side of history on this one. Young people could care less about sexual orientation, it's just not a big deal for most of us. And look at the trend: Just a few years ago, 48% of Californians voting in favor of gay marriage would have been shocking. We just need to wait a few years for the old people to die, then go after this again. We'll get this reversed.

I do not usually post a comment about issues raised in the LA Times but I feel a need to weigh-in on this issue concerning African-Americans, Proposition 8 and the bitter responses that I have read thus far. How can anyone single out African-Americans as some type of scapegoat for blame regarding the defeat of Prop 8? Also, have my liberal friends really looked at the arguments against blacks as a whole in light of the passage of prop 8. I see a closeted bias against blacks masked behind a veneer of liberalism.

to all you libtards out there you voted and gave your time for obama and the AA community voted against prop 8 too bad next time don't drink the kool aid and be a follower be a leader first. you think everyone is a believer in your marriage absolutely not . don't believe everything Obama is going to promise you either

I'm a conservative Latino grandfather of 8 who couldn't "hide" the color of his skin growing up in a rural community in Nebraska. Even on the phone I couldn't hide my Mexican accent. I learned at a young age what restaurant would allow me entrance so that I could buy a meal and which ones wouldn't permit me. If you see three men on the street, one African American, a Latino and a white man you can immediately see the color of the skin but you CAN'T tell which one is gay. You can't hide your color but you CAN hide your homosexuality. You can close your blinds so no one knows you live with your same sex partner. You can chose to hide your orientation from your family and friends. You can chose all of these things. But for God's sake after living these many years I have to scratch my head and ask WHY SHOULD YOU! Why should any American have to pretend to be something they are not. Why should we as ethnics not see that everyone should be afforded rights. I remember many sad times during my youth when my color was what defined me in the minds of others. I cannot allow bigotry--or zealots--define what rights others should have. Yes I grew up in a Christian household and yes homosexuals were spoken of in terms I couldn't repeat here. I don't know, or care, what the sexual orientation of my grandchildren is or will be. I want a better future for them than I had. That's why I voted No on Proposition 8. And I am proud as a Latino that I did.

am a proud Mexican and proud gay man and I am saddened that it had to be this way. First of all I have to deal with both of my communities not rejecting me because of who I naturally am and where I stand in the issue. I understand why some ethnic minorities voted more in favor of prop 8 but I completely disagree with their ignorance

Most Blacks and Latinos have lower rates of high school graduation and low rates of attending and graduating college. The education of sexuality taught in low-income high schools is horrible and does not teach anything about sexual minorities. Most Blacks and Latinos are influenced by their homophobic gangster peers and/or religious parents.

There are also a large amount of Asian and White conservatives, both groups almost voted at 50 percent. This is primarily due to religion.

I went to a dominant Latino and Asian high school and my gay/lesbian friends and myself were mistreated from the homophobic population. So I faced that torture.

I understand why the wealthy White gay/lesbians are pissed because they felt betrayed because most of them (if not all) voted for Obama but found out the 70 percent of Blacks and 51 percent of Hispanics (tied with Whites for being the largest group in the state) voted for Prop 8. They thought they would understand the oppression they faced in the public. Sexual minorities have been looked down for not "fulfilling their gender role" and often facing humiliation and even discrimination (remember Boy Scouts vs Dale gave right to private companies to deny employment to people who do not seem proper for their companies). Yet, there are poor White gay men and Asians who have to deal with homophobic discrimination from their peers and/or family as well.

The gay community in general should have interacted with the Latino/Black communities and should have tried to make a bond to end discrimination. There were Latino, Asians, and Blacks who tried to advocate against Prop 8 in thier communities but not enough gay Whites put that effort in homophobic White and non-White communites. SInce Whites do have a larger influence on what is or isn't right, like the Protestant and Catholic leaders who enstalled Christian mores upon several of these communities. Their effort in uniting with other communities would have changed the results drastically. We really need to develop rapport.

Nonetheless I do feel several of our family members or "friends" that voted in favor of 8 NEED TO WAKE THE HELL UP!!! Get over yourselves and see that your son/daughter and other people in your community need help. You cannot be for one human right effort and then be against another one. That is pure hypocricy. It doesn't matter what your interpretation, or given interpretation, of a religious scripture is. Help people in need of help especially if they are helping you out. NEVER ABUSE OF POWER! Native Americans and Blacks in the Americas were forced to believe in Christianity or else they would be forced or killed. The oppressor made you believe in the bible, it really wasn't your chice. They taught you how to hate your ancestral religions and love their hateful one.

This has been an emotional rollercoaster for most of us in California, it really has been. Please lets try to understand each other and hope that those religious people who voted for prop 8 would open up their hearts for a true social morality. Brothers and sisters of all colors, ethnicities, nationalities, histories, and economic classes let try to cooperate and not blame each other for our oppression but know that we all stand for human equality and progressive/non-hateful free speech.

If straights are so concerned about protecting marriage, why don't they pass a law banning divorce? Hypocrites and bigots! This is about civil rights. Plain and simple.

OK gay rights advocates, are you in favor of legalizing polygamy? Why not? Do you have some moral objection? Does polygamy go against tradition in America? Don't try to say that comparing the two is not fair. Polygamy is legal in much of the world, why not here? People do have a right to legislate morality. People do have a right to say what they will and will not sanction.

AFter perusing comment boards on this issue from various news outlets, one thing IS VERY CLEAR: the hatred, name-calling, and shouting is coming from the "no on 8" side. The reasoned arguments, clam discussion, and support of democracy is coming on the "yes on 8" side. This situation is very telling. Who should be ashamed??

I voted yes on 8. You can call me a bigot (though I am not), you can call me uneducated (though I have a PhD), you can call me a religious nut (though my beliefs on this matter have nothing to do with religion), and when all that fails you can just scream at me and threaten to leave the country. In the meantime, I will walk away from all of this reconfirmed in my belief that all the rhetoric of tolerance and diversity from the gay community is just that, RHETORIC.

Now Lemeritus writes,

My deepest apologies, Mr. Ryssman. You are, of course, exactly right... discrimination loses its sting when "all other persons" are counted as 3/5s rather than 3/4s. I fear, however, that -- in your passion for chapter and verse-- you may have misunderstood my point: collective wisdom does not always make good law.

Mr. Ryssman answers,

Details, details...and yes, sometimes the collective voice of the people is in error. However, with a popular culture that has almost entirely de-stigmatized homosexuality, permitting gays and lesbians to live in many instances out in the open without fear, and with more and more gays and lesbians in public office, perhaps it is time for homosexuals and their ardent supporters to stop and reflect on why marriage is being so vigorously reaffirmed as being between a man and a woman. It might have more to do with what the majority understands about this institution than any sort of rank bigotry towards gays and lesbians (though that may be a comforting and reassuring sentiment).

I don't live in California but I think the passing of Proposition 8 was wrong. And yes, I'm an African-American hetrosexual male. I'm amazed at the amount of ignorance and lack of empathy there is toward gay people in the black community. A large part of this is that so many black people are indoctrinated in Christian Churches where they are taught homosexuality is wrong. My own personal experiences and history have taught me that Christian people tend to be some of the most narrow minded, and bigoted people on the planet against those that don't share their beliefs. It's seems the more ardent one is about their Christain beliefs the more prejudiced they are toward non-believers.

What the gay community needs to realize is that America is locked in a culture war where Christians are determined to promote their beliefs through government policy and law. The gay community needs to form alliances with other groups that are proponents of the separation of church and state.

I respect the right of people of all religions to worship and believe as they please. After all that right is protected in the Constitution of this country. However Christians need to realize their religion is NOT the official religion of the United States of America. In fact the Constitution explcitly forbids the government from promoting one religion over another.

Gay marriage does NOT threaten the institution of marriage. Gay marriage is not going to stop hetrosexual people from marrying and having children. Since the government sanctions marriage it's a CIVIL RIGHT. The prohibition of marriage of one individual to another based on gender or sexul orientation is the DENIAL OF A CIVIL RIGHT. If religions don't want to sanction gay marriages that's fine but there is no reason that gay couple should be allowed to have civil marriages performed by the government.

As Americans we all need to come to the realizations that HATE AND INTOLERANCE ARE NOT AMERICAN VALUES.

This disappointing. We are going to have to learn that discrimination is discrimination, and that racism toward a group is wrong, just like homophobia is bad. Children in the commercials did not have anything to do with the issue. People just did not like homosexuals. And this is wrong.

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