According to a New York Times story, Barack Obama’s immense popularity among black voters in California may hurt the marriage equality movement.
Could Senator Barack Obama’s popularity among black voters hurt gay couples in California who want to marry? That is the concern of opponents of Proposition 8, a measure on the November ballot that would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, which was legalized in May by the State Supreme Court.
Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, is against the measure. But opponents of the proposed ban worry that many black voters, enthused by Mr. Obama’s candidacy but traditionally conservative on issues involving homosexuality, could pour into voting stations in record numbers to punch the Obama ticket — and then cast a vote for Proposition 8.
“It’s a Catch-22,” said Andrea Shorter, the campaign director of And Marriage for All, a coalition of gay and civil rights groups that recently started what it calls an education campaign around the state, focusing on blacks and framing the issue of same-sex marriage as one of civil rights.
The Obama/Proposition 8 situation appeals to those opposed to same-sex marriage, who are banking on a high turnout by blacks and conservative Latinos. “There’s no question African-American and Latino voters are among our strongest supporters,” said Frank Schubert, the co-campaign manager for Yes on 8, the leading group behind the measure. “And to the extent that they are motivated to get to the polls, whether by this issue or by Barack Obama, it helps us.”
Geoffrey Kors, head of Equality California, says that as many as 20% of voters there may still be undecided on marriage equality.