Updated November 10, 2008
California, Florida and Arizona banned same-sex marriage; Arkansas banned adoptions by gay couples. Kevin Ivers, blogging over at Citizen Crain, hits the nail on the head:
The 2008 election was, in fact, a disaster for gays.... When I learned on Facebook this morning that dear gay friends of mine in New York were dancing in Times Square, and other friends in Washington were celebrating in front of the White House and actually comparing the experience to the fall of the Berlin Wall-while gay marriage was going down the toilet in California-it was astounding to me....
The gay movement used to be about thinking outside the box, including the one we ourselves might be in, and taking nothing for granted. But something happened over the last several years that changed all that. Now it's just…a gigantic co-opting of our energies by a political party that does nothing in return. Besides a whole lot of fundraising.
As one of his readers comments:
I briefly showed up a Stonewall "Victory" party in Sacramento which I THOUGHT was focused on Prop 8. Turns out it was more of a Democratic Party victory party with little emphasis on Prop 8.... By about 9:00 pm, as Obama was giving his victory speech, the results for Prop 8 started trickling in and showed an early lead for "YES." But no one seemed to notice or care.... By the ebullient atmosphere, you'd think Prop 8 was some new dog licensing statute.... I left after only a few minutes-heartsick, disgusted, and angry at the return numbers and also at peoples' dispassionate reaction.
And here's another first-hand account by a volunteer on the "No on 8" campaign, who describes the "No" campaign as "the most poorly put together effort I have ever seen."
The banner headline in the Nov. 7 Washington Blade blares "'Change' Has Come to America" with a huge, reverential photo of Obama, arm raised to accept the adulation of his adoring masses. It overshadows a smaller boxed article, "Voters in Calif., Fla. and Ariz. Ban Same-Sex Marriage." In an era in which gay activism has become a wholly owned fundraising subsidy of the Democratic National Committeee, that's the change we can believe in.
More. Over at Slate, Farhad Manjoo examines the impact of African-American Obama supporters, 70% of whom voted for Prop 8, and concludes: "Had black turnout matched levels of previous elections, the vote on the gay-marriage ban-which trailed in the polls for much of the summer-would have been much closer. It might even have failed."
The same could be said of Florida, where a hugh black turnout for Obama helped to pass an amendment banning not just same-sex marriage but legal recognition of "substantially similar" partnerships that might bestow the benefits of marriage.
Furthermore. You might think major outreach to black voters, making the case to oppose these anti-gay amendments, would have been a priority for LGBT political organizers this year. It wasn't, perhaps because mostly white LGBT activists are told they have no business telling blacks how to vote, and they believe it.
Of course, this might have helped.
More Still. The Obama-quoting pro Prop 8 robocall. This deserves much more attention, but that wouldn't serve the Obamist cause, would it.