Barack Obama's popularity among California's minorities helped pass the state's conservative-backed gay marriage ban, Dan Walters writes in the Sacramento Bee. Blacks and Latinos—94% of whom voted for Obama—turned out in record numbers, and the majority of them supported the ban. The proposition would probably have failed with a more traditional, and more white, makeup of state voters.
The irony revealed by exit poll analysis has left some gay-rights leaders bitter. Proposition 8, supported by 70% of African Americans and 53% of Latinos, denies homosexuals the right to marry. This year, 10% of California's voters were black and 18% Latino, percentages that are traditionally 7% and 13% respectively. The extra half-million votes parallel the margin by which the measure won.