Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Joy as Well as In Sorrow

Article: Same Sex Marriage Ban Is Tied to Obama Factor (NYT)

It's amazing that this country ever manages to get anything done. Is there anyone out there who lines up with a political candidate on every single issue? Maybe my circle of acquaintances is small, but it seems we all disagree on something. This article is an excellent example of the disparity among those on the same side of the political fence.

Proposition 8, a measure to amend California's constitution to ban gay marriage, is up for decision by California voters this year, and its opponents are worried. It seems that Barack Obama will draw more black and Latino voters to the polls. Great for Obama supporters - not so for supporters of gay marriage.

According to a New York University study quoted in this article, "black voters consistently polled much lower than white voters on approval for same-sex marriage, about 16 percentage points, even when religion was not a factor." And Yes on 8, the leading group in support of a ban on gay marriage acknowledges African-American and Latino voters as among their strongest supporters. Their higher turnout to elect Obama to the Oval Office will likely mean increased votes in support of Proposition 8 as well.

To counter this statistical expectation, opponents of Proposition 8 as well as leaders in the gay community have begun a casual counter-attack, recruiting gay black people to help advocate their side of the issue. The New York Times quoted the board president of the Barbara Jordan / Bayard Rustin Coalition, a Los Angeles gay rights group: “We’re saying, ‘Gay people are black and black people are gay. And if you are voting conservative on an antigay ballot measure, you are hurting the black community.’”

Not surprisingly, Obama comes down on the "for" side of the great gay debate, insofar as he opposes a constitutional ban on same sex marriages. As a state issue, however, his election won't have any bearing on California voters' decision to ban gay marriage.

Snark's Take

This country's history is full of discrimination. Anyone remember slavery? Segregation? How many black people do you know who would willingly sit at the back of a proverbial bus in this day and age? Personally, I don't understand why race has to be a consideration in this issue in the first place, but since it is, I have to question why a formerly subjugated race - a race in which homosexuality is just as prevalent as in any other - would knowingly choose to discriminate against another minority.

What, did African-Americans corner the market on dreams when I wasn't looking? Dr. King certainly wasn't the only person to have one. It comes down to basic civil rights - and don't get me started on the "gay rights" nomenclature, because the last time I checked they weren't asking for anything more than other minorities have. Legal standing. Combination of assets. Creation of a family unit. Health benefits. The right to make medical decisions for partners. Equal standing.

That's not so much to ask, is it? How is discrimination any different when the minority is homosexuals, rather than blacks or hispanics?

Personally, I say bravo to the approach the gay community and other opponents of the proposition are taking. Let's eliminate race from the issue altogether, and while we're at it, eliminate the intrusion into the private lives of the gay community. If religion isn't the issue, neither should homosexuality be. We'd all get along so much better as a society if the political arena wasn't so damned voyeuristic.

We'll save the views on the religious right for the next headline they steal. In the meantime, Californians, vote "No." Seriously.

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