Having already cast my ballot for Barack Obama (again, and this time in Virginia, as opposed to DC, where my one additional vote will have more weight, I couldn't help but think of the sadness I felt on Election night '08 with the Prop 8 debacle in California. So here we are, four years later, and four states (Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington) have ballot initiatives related to civil marriage equality. Of course, I want marriage equality to prevail tonight (with Minnesota not amending its state constitution to deny the possibility of marriage equality, and the other states seeking to bolster the legislative victories in their states), but Maryland stands out for me.
One of the false memes that has developed is the notion that Black folks are super, extra especially homophobic, in comparison with the broader public. It simply isn't true. Homophobia is an equal opportunity problem. Now considering that Maryland has the largest Black population of the states with marriage equality on the ballot, and considering that Maryland's Black population is electorally influential, I think that a vote in favor of marriage equality in the Old Line State would be a significant blow to that meme about Blacks and the GLBT community. I am more than confident that President Obama's embrace of marriage equality, and the Democratic Party's embrace have helped move the needle on broader GLBT acceptance, especially within the Black community.
Yet with all of those positives, I find it quite sad that many within the Black community remain quite comfortable with the notion of putting a demographic group's civil rights on the ballot. I don't need to remind anyone of just how far civil rights for Blacks would have gone, if they'd been put on the ballot in the states with legal segregation. But I think that it is important to remind folks of just how that would have felt to those fighting for racial equality. It would have sucked during those election nights, waiting for the returns to come in, wondering if this time might be the time that equality prevails.
That is precisely what the GLBT community is going through right now, and it fucking sucks.