Prop. 8: Stop Ignoring the Numbers



The San Francisco Chronicle ran another story Sunday that wrongly downplayed the role of black voters in passing Prop. 8. Now, let me start off by saying that I have great respect for the story's author, Matthai Kuruvila, but his analysis -- and that of the people he quotes -- is just plain wrong. African-Americans, along with Latinos, tipped the scales in favor of Prop. 8, and the numbers prove it. More after the jump.

Here's the rundown: According to the California Secratary of State's Office this morning, nearly 12 million state voters cast a ballot on Prop. 8 this election (11,975,913 to be exact). Currently, Prop. 8 is leading by 515,135 votes. According to exit polling data, blacks made up 10 percent of the voters who voted this time around, while Latinos represented 18 percent. In addition, blacks voted for Prop. 8 70 percent to 30 percent, and Latinos, 53 percent to 47 percent. Whites and Asians split evenly.

If you do some simple math, it means that blacks cast approx. 838,314 votes for Prop. 8 compared to 359,277 against. That's a difference of 479,037 votes. Latinos cast about 1,142,502 for the measure and 1,013,162 against. A difference of 129,340. In other words, blacks and Latinos gave Prop. 8 a net gain of about 608,377 -- 93,242 more than it needed to pass. If blacks and Latinos had split evenly, like whites and Asians, Prop. 8 would have failed.

Clearly, religion is at play here. And it's right for reporters to pin the Prop. 8 victory on it. But it's the liberal black churches and Catholic (i.e. Latino) churches that were the story of this election. They got out the vote for Barack Obama and against gay marriage. Blaming conservative white churches who were going to vote for Prop. 8 anyway is just silly. For newspapers to overlook this fact, or downplay it, is not only just wrong on the facts, but it's giving blacks and Latinos who voted for Prop. 8 a free pass -- that it was okay for them to discriminate. Some people have alleged that it's racist to blame blacks and Latinos for banning gay marriage, but from my point of view, it's certainly not racist to point out when people discriminate against others, even if it's minorities who are doing it.