Campaigns/Elections

Jane Elliott, Call Your Agent*

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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.)

NEXT: Not Goode Enough

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  1. Why does ACORN hate gay people?

  2. I voted for Prop 8 because I believe judges should not dictate what our rights are and aren’t.
    Remember the people twice, decided the marriage question.
    Judges had no right to reverse it.
    Wake up Balko.

  3. 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.

    So – you included the 70% of black voters, who comprise 10% of the population, but you ignored the 53% of Latino voters, who comprise 18% of it?

    Why does that not surprise me?

    Nothing like seeing the Enlightened and Tolerant getting hoisted by their own petard.

  4. Judges had no right to reverse it.

    That is the primary function of the judiciary in our representative republic.

  5. I remember the debate here in Massachusetts where black, generally baptist, preachers would come on the TV to explain how not recognizing the legality of unions between gays was completely different than the miscegenation laws of 40 years ago.

    Usually with bizarre hand-waving arguments that bordered on the Chewbacca defense in their incoherence.

    None, and I mean not one, ever questioned the notion of the state deciding what was a marriage and what wasn’t.

  6. I voted for Prop 8 because I believe judges should not dictate what our rights are and aren’t.

    So, just to be clear, you’re absolutely cool with putting all of your rights up for a majority vote?

    Really?


  7. > Judges had no right to reverse it.

    That is the primary function of the judiciary in our representative republic.

    This is exactly the problem; If the people of the whatever area you are judging for want something a certain way, it’s not smart to say that their way is not valid. Judges mainly are supposed to fill in the spots that a law left vague because situational variances.

    Then you get people pissed, and then they go and do something extreme.

  8. Libertarians suffer the worst discrimination of all–total ignorance of and/or indifference to their very existence. If only someone would propose banning libertarians from seeking public office. Hardly anybody even knows libertarians have been seeking public office. They know Barr is a repulsive-looking, boring old fuck, but who really knows he’s a Libertarian? Are you a libertarian? No, I’m a Capricorn. Fuck! Donate now.

  9. Elemenope,
    I always assumed it was that way anyway. 2nd amendment has been done in that way in places, and I have no doubt people trying to be helpful would do the same thing to other rights.

  10. If the people of the whatever area you are judging for want something a certain way, it’s not smart to say that their way is not valid.

    So you’re saying we should always follow the pitch-fork-carrying mob whever they go.

  11. I voted for Prop 8 because I believe judges should not dictate what our rights are and aren’t.
    Remember the people twice, decided the marriage question.
    Judges had no right to reverse it.

    Um… judges absolutely have the right–and I would argue the duty–to reverse it. A state constitution protects the rights of its citizens. The constitution becomes superfluous, and the rights guaranteed therein non-existent, if you can pass laws that abrogate those rights. The judge’s role is to decide when laws indeed infringe upon the citizens’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights. If you feel that citizens shouldn’t actually have those rights, then go ahead and amend the constitution so it no longer protects said rights (as happened yesterday in CA). But don’t claim you voted for the proposition because “Judges had no right to reverse it.” To do so is to either misunderstand how the system works or to hide one’s true feelings regarding gay marriage behind a curtain of procedural justification.

  12. I voted for Prop 8 because I believe judges should not dictate what our rights are and aren’t.
    Remember the people twice, decided the marriage question.
    Judges had no right to reverse it.
    Wake up Balko.

    So hold it – you exercised your right to determine what a right is or isn’t by voting yes to restrict a right? Couldn’t you have exercised that right by voting ‘No’?

  13. bigotry, racism and hatred is color blind. there are just as many black bigots as there are white.

  14. I believe Balko was noting the voting patterns of African Americans because of their history of having rights denied to them. He didn’t note the voting patterns of Hispanics because they were never slaves, not because he likes them and he doesn’t like black people. Grow up doofus.

  15. Judges had no right to reverse it.

    I had to deal with the same nonsense a few years ago here in MA. Well educated professionals in my office threw this out all the time completely ignorant of what they were really saying. When you hear this argument, it’s their Rush Limbaugh way of saying gays are icky and I don’t want my kids to know about them.

  16. Tell us, Lefiti, where do you stand on gay marriage?

  17. >> If the people of the whatever area you are judging for want something a certain way, it’s not smart to say that their way is not valid.

    > So you’re saying we should always follow the pitch-fork-carrying mob whever they go.

    Yes!

    As long as they’re going my way, of course. 😉

  18. 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.

    Racist!

  19. 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.

    QFT.

  20. In front of your sister, handing her a strap-on.

  21. J sub D,

    You ever notice how none of them even try to argue against that?

  22. There is no equal protection issue at stake in homosexual marriage. The institution was quite recently created an analog to normal marriage. If legislatures wish to recognize it, that is what legislatures are for.

  23. I believe Balko was noting the voting patterns of African Americans because of their history of having rights denied to them. He didn’t note the voting patterns of Hispanics because they were never slaves, not because he likes them and he doesn’t like black people. Grow up doofus.

    In light of Reason’s support of open borders, I thought it might be germane to point out what the practical consequences of that policy would eventually be.

    Maybe one of these days, the more-tolerant-than-thou crowd will figure out that as a practical matter, some freedoms are mutually exclusive with others, and realize that they’ll need to make a value judgment as to which ones are the higher priority.

    But I’m not holding my breath. That would mean having to engage with reality, which isn’t nearly as satisfying as patting yourself on the back for your enlightened views.

  24. ClubMedSux,

    What I said was carefully chosen; I said not smart, because politics ( which a judge enters whenever making new caselaw ) is a carefully executed game. People had their law because they wanted to make a statement. By not understanding the delicacy of the situation, and reversing the law, now gay marriage being disallowed is ammended to the state constitution.

    Now it will take a large amount of work to get it removed, when ( and if ) people feel otherwise.

  25. This post is being talked about on Rush Limbaugh’s show right now.

  26. Limbaugh urging his listenership to attempt to read anything is always a bad idea.

    Hark! What is that sound you ask? A million rednecks slowly sounding out words under their breath.

  27. I don’t think government should be in the business of building high speed rail connections either. Or giving handouts to hospitals, or telling egg farmers how to do their jobs.

    It wasn’t a good night for CA liberty lovers on the proposition front…

  28. OT

    Frisco, had a measure (prop K) to decrim prostitution. That failed by 16 percent.

  29. Well, as of yet the only ditto-head here is Gil, so we’re safe for now.

    Megadittoes, Gil!

  30. Some people really like the homophobia.

    I’d bet the percentage of African-American males “in the closet” or “down low” is slightly higher than for white males, too.

    Often people who are homophobic are close-minded about lots of other things, too.

    I guess that’s all I can say.

  31. This issue? Or this actual post? Did Rush actually refer to Reason magazine and/or it website and/or contributors?

  32. Wait! If I didn’t have gay friends/associates I’d probably be homophobic, too. I think too many people being in the closet is bad for tolerance, like it’s a vicious cycle or something (w/in the “mainstream” African American community). Srsly.

  33. I mean, to be fair I’m still slightly homophobic but I’m definitely not gonna vote to try to stop “the gays” from having “the marriage”.

  34. Hurrah for the 15th Amendment!

    Black people have been on the receiving end of numerous social experiments seeking to redefine or denigrate the institution of marriage.

    Traditionally, marriage was a state into which slaves could enter, but North American legislatures refused to recognize marriages among black slaves.

    Traditionally, marriages among people of different races were as valid as marriages within the same race. Even the racially-stratified societies of Latin America obsersved this definition. But many North American legislatures redefined marriage to mean only withing a particular racial grouping.

    The forces of enlightenment, especially in the 60s and 70s, scoffed at predictions of the deterioration of the black family, saying that marriage was simply an oppressive, sexist, racist instrument of hegemonic blah blah, and praising the “matriarchal,” fatherless families in many parts of the black community. What a success *that* turned out to be!

    Having seen for themselves what it means to “redefine” or marginalize marriage, whether in the name of authoritarian agendas or in the name of “liberty,” black people seem to have had enough.

  35. Not to worry…the highly activist Ninth Circuit Court will most certainly find a way to reverse the will of the people yet again…and again…and again… The legal challenges are already being mounted.

  36. Having seen for themselves what it means to “redefine” or marginalize marriage, whether in the name of authoritarian agendas or in the name of “liberty,” black people seem to have had enough.

    I wouldn’t blame the progressives or the gays for the sorry state of the black nuclear family, although you make a valid point that the institution of marriage* is important for social stability.

    *I mean marriage as social contract, not necessarily government benefits blah blah blah

  37. some freedoms are mutually exclusive with others

    That’s not possible. If two “rights” conflict, then one is a right and the other is not.

    Unless you’d care to state and cite some counterfactuals to that?

  38. Everyone keeps saying it passed, but the State of CA has not called it officially yet. There are still “millions of provisional ballots” to count, which may take a while, but it’s not over yet. It is hard to believe it’s that close in a State like CA though! Even harder to believe that it passed in Los Angeles county.

  39. In light of Reason’s support of open borders,…

    Ah, Clem. Clem, Clem, Clem. Nice try at hijacking the thread.

  40. If the white gay community would reach out & campaign to the black community, such outcomes could be avoided, though I am skeptical at laying blame for the initiatives’ defeat at the feet of black voters.

    How much campaigning & GOTV effort on this issue was done in and targeted to the black community? I would guess minimal to none, which is stupid considering that this was one constituency that was sure to make it to the polls last night.

    Also, my experience and that of many blacks are that the majority of folks in the gay movement, who are white, are quite open in their disdain for black people, and are quite happy to coopt our struggles, while embracing their white privilege when convenient. This disdain resulted in a predictable underestimating of these voters’ importance.

  41. The only thing sadder than belonging to a political movement no one cares about, is posting on the website of a political movement no one cares about and being ignored…

  42. Mike Laursen,

    Just because you are blind to the GayMexican threat…

  43. longdeshizi,

    Interesting. And I was going to say something about “Black PFLAG” (snicker).

  44. That’s not possible. If two “rights” conflict, then one is a right and the other is not.

    That makes no sense. You can’t just say, a priori, that you’re never going to have one right conflicting with another. For example, we put all kinds of implicit, and a few explicit, restrictions on freedom of religion: you can’t, say, go around saying that your religion says that it is OK to take other people’s property.

  45. That’s not possible. If two “rights” conflict, then one is a right and the other is not.

    Unless you’d care to state and cite some counterfactuals to that?

    Liberals right to live vs. my right to drive over them in my SUV.

  46. How much campaigning & GOTV effort on this issue was done in and targeted to the black community?

    I’ve heard there was quite a lot.

  47. T.A.O.

    but seriously – I accept your challenge. To wit, provide me a list of 5 “rights” that you would assent to being uncontovertable. I will provide the counterfactual.

  48. That’s not possible. If two “rights” conflict, then one is a right and the other is not.

    Aw, somebody read Atlas Shrugged, isn’t that cute?

    Coochie, coochie, coo!

    I notice you left off “as a practical matter” when you quoted me. You can talk all the esoteric bullshit about rights that you want, but if you live in a society that doesn’t recognize those rights, then effectively you don’t have them.

    I pointed out an artifact from the demographic data – that a majority of Latinos chose not to recognize the right of gay couples to marry. Presumably, open immigration would therefore increase the margin by which such ballot measures will be enacted in the future.

    You can indulge in mental masturbation about rights theories until you’re blue in the face. But the reality is if you want to recognize the right of people to immigrate freely, you can forget about ever passing an initiative to recognize gay marriage. One of those things may happen, but they ain’t gonna happen together. At least not in this universe.

    To quote a shrewd politician, politics is the art of the possible. When your ideology requires that which is not possible, then it has no practical application. At which point you need to either revise your ideology to conform to reality, or resign yourself to a lifetime of pulling your pud on blogs to no useful effect.

  49. ouch. I suppose I’m not going to get my 5 rights after that…

  50. I’ve read some posts on this site that said they were libertarians because it was a purist party – and that once the movement started making compromises to achieve power, it lost it’s appeal.

    For my part I prefer more liberty than less – and am willing to accept a partial yes for an answer (for now). I agree with Ah Clem – the pud pulling needs to end.

  51. There is precious little tax benefit to a modern married couple. The government takes your COMBINED income and attributes it to one “party”. Therefore, making it appear as if the married couple is wealthier than an unmarried couple. Therefore, married people pay higher marginal rates at the high end and get cut off of government programs more quickly at the low end. The only benefit is spousal social security payments, everything else sucks.

  52. It was the 70 percent support from black voters that put the measure over the top.

    Not surprising. Blacks are far more superstitious (religious) than whites. If their god says gay marriage is a sin, who are they to think otherwise, or think at all?

  53. At which point you need to either revise your ideology to conform to reality, or resign yourself to a lifetime of pulling your pud on blogs to no useful effect.

    Drained and blue
    I bleed for you
    You think its funny, well
    You’re drowning in it too

  54. Not surprising. Blacks are far more superstitious (religious) than whites. If their god says gay marriage is a sin, who are they to think otherwise, or think at all?

    I’m glad you don’t get all caught up on stereotypes.

  55. I don’t think people realize the damage they are doing by passing these amendments are going to do to society, and to themselves in the years to come.

    Right now, it’s just a ban on allowing gays to be married in order to “preserve the sanctity of marriage.”

    What happens when gays & lesbian lawyers come together, and decide to take the issue of divorce up to the courts?

    If states are going to not allow people to marry in order to preserve marriage, then the states should therefore ban divorces. A divorce, by it’s very definition, tears apart and separates that sanctity of marriage.

    Gays & lesbians will have unlikely, but huge supporters on their side on this issue as well: Catholics and Evangelical Christians.

  56. Marty | November 5, 2008, 4:35pm | #
    I don’t think people realize the damage they are doing by passing these amendments are going to do to society, and to themselves in the years to come.

    Agree wholeheartedly with your post. The society that we have now is an indefinitely sustained unintended consequence.

  57. Blacks oppose gay marriage? That’s very white of you.

  58. “If states are going to not allow people to marry in order to preserve marriage, then the states should therefore ban divorces. A divorce, by it’s very definition, tears apart and separates that sanctity of marriage.

    “Gays & lesbians will have unlikely, but huge supporters on their side on this issue as well: Catholics and Evangelical Christians.”

    I would be glad to see the end of “no fault divorce,” and I suppose the people would end it if they were serious about defending marriage, but they’ve let things deteriorate this far already, and the divorcee constituency is larger than the gay constituency, if not necessarily more organized. But perhaps the reason they’re not organized is that so far nobody is seeking to deprive them of their sacred right to divorce.

  59. “Blacks are far more superstitious (religious) than whites. If their god says gay marriage is a sin, who are they to think otherwise, or think at all?”

    The forces of tolerance strike again!

    I can’t imagine why black people don’t automatically ally themlelves with the gay-liberation forces. It’s so obviously the thing to do!

  60. The government isn’t “giving its blessing to committed relationships.” No one is stopping gay couples from being together! Keeping marriage between one man and one woman is an attempt to secure the future of society. Children statistically are the most likely to avoid social ills and become healthy, productive members of society when they grow up with their mother and father. Indeed, divorce, single parent homes, and children being born out of wedlock are huge problems and need to be addressed with as much vigor as preventing gay marriage. But until science can create a way for two people of the same sex to have a baby together, children should have a right to a mother and father. It’s not about the love or relationships between gay people, it’s about doing what has been scientifically shown is best for vulnerable children and for the future of society.

  61. @Ellie,

    I would say being raised by a loving gay couple is probably better than being raised as a ward of the state. As for the problems associated with divorce and out-of-wedlock births, I’m saying NGS (No gov’t solution).

    Also, I will argue that social “science” is the softest science that there is (yes, I’m aware I have to call my own conclusions into question).

  62. Majority of black americans fall under the evangelical umbrella. Despite liberal views on the economy and military issues, most black americans have conservative views on moral issues. They still vote Democratic because in general there is a “live and let live attitude.” However, if posed with the question, their moral values will prevail. Simple as that.

  63. truth…if what you say is accurate (and it passes the ‘texture test’), it might account for the dearth of black libertarians ’round this country.

  64. It seems that libertarians are forgetting that Natural Law and Christian morality is what gives us our rights. We need to keep that fact as part of our decision making matrix.

    Marriage between one man and one woman is not based on our laws or the Bible. It is the norm of virtually every culture on earth, throughout history. Many cultures have homosexuality I cannot think of one that calls homosexual relationships marriage.

    If we change the definition of marriage, it would be more logical, based on cultures, to legalize polygamy. Where is the argument to “restore the rights of the Mormon Church?”

    Once protected status is given to the gay lifestyle, the legal assaults on personal values and organizations will become a hurricane. Look at the precedents in Massachusetts. Will libertarians protect moral values or the homosexual lifestyle. Moral values people are far more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle than vice versa.

    This debate is just one small vocal interest group trying to push their lifestyle down everyone else’s throats.

  65. trying to push their lifestyle down everyone else’s throats

    I don’t agree with much of what you said, but I do appreciate this unfortunate turn of phrase.

  66. I apologize. That was not my intent.

  67. Joe,

    Libertarians believe that in a free society it is not appropriate for government to decide who you may or may not “marry.” If marriage is so sacrosanct, surely the power of marriage does not extend from government recognition of it.

    Allowing people to be free to do as they wish is not an attempt to push anyone else’s lifestyle on you. It has nothing to do with you. If you don’t want to recognize same-sex marriage as marriage, you have every right not to. It’s your choice. But by voting to deny someone else the right to marry the person of their choosing, you are removing their choice.

    Government protection of “moral values” is absolutely inconsistent with life in a free society.

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  69. I have heard from Larry Elder that the libertarian position would be for government to remove itself from defining any relationships. That is an interesting solution.

    After Protected Class Status is granted to a lifestyle choice, there will be legal attacks on the tax exempt status of churches that do not buckle under to the homosexual political movement. Perhaps a better solution would be to remove tax exempt status from all organizations.

    dogpile “Chuck McIlhenny” and see what happened to a church that did not want to have a homosexual employee. I grew up with Chuck. This was thirty years ago.

  70. a majority of Latinos chose not to recognize the right of gay couples to marry. Presumably, open immigration would therefore increase the margin by which such ballot measures will be enacted in the future.

    So, the assertion here from “Ah, Clem” is that, because Latinos don’t like gay marriage, open immigration and gay marriage necessarily conflict and are therefore “competing and conflicting” rights?

    Seriously? By that logic, there’s no right to bear arms, because sometimes people get killed by guns, and that conflicts with the right to life.

  71. To wit, provide me a list of 5 “rights” that you would assent to being uncontovertable.

    1. The right to property (to wit, total rights to dispense with your property as you wish, provided that right does not impinge on another’s)
    2. Freedom of association
    3. Freedom to contract (alternatively, to NOT contract).

  72. “So it seems likely that blacks were more enthusiastic about banning gay marriage than other ethnicities in that state [Arizona], too.”

    I don’t know about that, but you might not know that blacks are only something like 2 percent of the population in Arizona. I’m going to guess that means they wouldn’t be any significant part of the swing vote in this issue.

  73. I apologize. That was not my intent.

    No big deal, I just thought it was funny!

  74. Dear Radley,

    I found your article rather bigoted toward blacks. First of all the CNN report of which you speak reported no more than 10% of actual black votes on 11/4. If that 70% is correct only 7% voted YES on the measure. It is statistically impossible for that 7% to have had any impact on the 52/47 divide in the vote as they barely register as a percentage of the vote.

    I am so sick and tired of reading these RACIST headlines suggesting blacks are to blame for this bigotry. First of all it was a white measure brought on by white people. White people that pushed the issue in black churches and on the uneducated.

    It’s wrong to do this. Also check out the CNN report and notice how Asians are absent (a much larger minority in CA) and it doesn’t list undecided.

  75. Minorities do not stick up for other minorities–this has been pretty standard through history, including conflict between the women’s lib and gay rights movements in the 60s/70s.

    It’s a common school yard tactic–befriend the bully by picking on another weak kid. My guess is that there is a lot of fear that by supporting another marginalized group, you will lose what few gains you have made with the in crowd.

  76. I am Mormon, and I advocate respect for homosexuals, as do many others of my faith. I mourn the hatred homosexuals face on a daily basis and pledge my efforts to eliminate wrongful hatred towards gays. Please do not misunderstand my support of Prop 8 to be motivated by the intent to do harm. Please visit my blog.

    thetrying.wordpress.com

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