Prop 8 Splits California's Gays, Blacks

African-Americans argue gay marriage isn't a civil rights issue
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2008 11:14 AM CST
As a police helicopter circles overhead, a woman waves the multicolored GLBT flag from atop a wall outside the Los Angeles Mormon Temple, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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(Newser) – California's narrowly passed ban on gay marriage has divided many of the state's gays and blacks on the issue, the Los Angeles Times reports. Exit polls show that black voters—who turned out in record numbers—backed the ban by around 70%, the biggest margin of any ethnic group. Some African-Americans said they simply didn't see gay rights as a civil rights issue.

Gay leaders say that churches and other groups cynically targeted and misled African-American voters to get a winning margin for the ban, despite Barack Obama's stated opposition to it. (One robocall used a recording of Obama saying he thought marriage is a "union between a man and woman.") Thousands continued protesting the ban in several California cities yesterday, and a lawsuit has been filed charging that the ballot initiative was improperly used to reduce citizens' rights.