My policy disagreements with Obama aside, last night was of course a historic chapter in America's long and sordid history of race relations. Unfortunately, another civil rights issue—gay marriage—went down to sweeping defeat.
I don't think the government should be in the business of giving its blessing to committed relationships of any kind. But to confer preferred tax and right of contract status on straight marriages but not gay ones simply isn't consistent with the principle of equality under the law.
Sadly, that concept seems to be less clear to black Americans than it does to other races, even as the country today celebrates the symbolic achievement of electing America's first black president.
In California, the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage actually failed among white voters, 51-49. It was the 70 percent support from black voters that put the measure over the top.
Florida's ban would have passed among white voters 60-40. But it passed among blacks 71-29.
The exit polling data isn't yet ccomplete in Arizona, but that state's ban passed with 56 percent of the vote, but with 55 percent from white and Latino voters. So it seems likely that blacks were more enthusiastic about banning gay marriage than other ethnicities in that state, too.
Kind of a sad irony if in helping achieve one civil rights milestone, last night's historical black turnout also helped perpetuate state-sanctioned discrimination against gay couples who wish to marry.
(*Headline explanation here.)