Every election season when gay marriage makes its way to the ballot, race is always an issue. The gay community loses its battle at the polls and the media rushes to print to prove (falsely) that African Americans, once again, screwed over the gay community. Even though African Americans are only (comparatively) a small percentage of the vote, the media will imply that African Americans, and African Americans alone, are the reason that the gay community lost the fight for equality – again.
But election 2012 was drastically different for the gay community. There were very few disappointments at the polls. Tammy Baldwin, an out lesbian, became the first woman from Wisconsin AND the first out gay person to win a senate seat in United States. Maine, Maryland and Washington state voters passed same-sex marriage laws that allow gays and lesbians the right to marry. Minnesota struck down a ban on same-sex marriage.
So, where’s the conversation on race?
Let’s discuss race. On May 9, 2012, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to express support of same-sex marriage. He’s Black (in case you didn’t notice). A Black president, who planned to run for re-election, already facing much opposition from groups like the tea party and the conservative religious right, and needs as much support as he can get from the Black church (you know, the church that gay white men claim is sooooooo homophobic) publicly expressed support for gay marriage. That takes some balls – and apparently, it’s balls the 43 white presidents before him didn’t have. (I’m calling it like I see it. We ARE talking race, here.)
In the months following his announcement of support for same-sex marriage, the right hated Obama even more – that was expected. But, the gay white bloggers who hated on him for 3 years continued hating and doubting while Black political leaders spoke to leaders of Black churches and begged them not to withdraw their support of the president simply because he believed that all people should be treated equally under the law.
Fast forward to the election. On election night, the gay community witnesses an historical night of victories for our community. Coincidence?
I’m not suggesting that Obama’s support of same-sex marriage is the reason the gay community fared so we well on election night. What I am suggesting is that Obama’s vocal support of same-sex marriage opened up a national dialogue, one that should have started many, many presidents ago. Yes, former presidents and their family members have expressed support for same-sex marriage, but they’ve done so long after their political equity has run out and only after they have little to lose. Only the Black guy did it when it mattered.
That’s the race conversation the media won’t have. This time around, the Black community isn’t the bad guy. This time around the gay community didn’t lose the battle and there’s no need to find someone to blame. This time around, the media knows that the Black guy gave it his all and the Black church didn’t screw it up for him – and that doesn’t make great news, now does it?
Told ya. There’s always a race discussion:
According to an ABC News poll, a majority of Latinos supported same-sex marriage in the four statewide ballot initiatives Tuesday night.
Hispanic voters were more likely than other voters to say they would approve if their state recognized same-sex marriage, according to preliminary exit poll results.
Nearly six-in-ten Latino voters (59%) said their state should legally recognize same-sex marriage while 32% said their state should not. But among all voters, about half (48%) favored legalization of gay marriage while nearly the same share said they would oppose it (47%).
While African Americans mostly supported marriage equality in their states (52 percent compared to 40 percent opposed), it was non-Hispanic whites who were most likely to vote against equality for same-sex couples. ABC News reports that 47 percent of white voters supported same-sex marriage at their state’s ballot box but 50 percent opposed equality for LGBT couples.
I find this interesting. Why is it that when the gay community wins the battle, then (and only then) does the media admit that it’s really the non-Hispanic whites who are most likely to vote against equality for same-sex couples?