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Progressive Revival

As this is my first post on Progressive Revival, let me take a moment to thank the Powers that Be at Beliefnet for inviting me to participate here. It’s an honor to be blogging alongside the rest of you! My main blogging outlet is my blog on Islam, politics and culture, City of Brass, so I look forward to generating some cross-blog discussion.

I wanted to touch on the matter of California’s Proposition 8 (gay marriage) which was passed successfully despite record turnout and Barack Obama’s long liberal coattails. I was intrigued by this angry comment by parallelsidewalk, who was raised Mormon and briefly entered the fold of Islam for a few years:

A lot of people here distrust American Muslims because they think of them as an alien presence with morals and prejudices that are incompatible with our way of life. I’ve come to distrust American Muslims because they’re exactly as petty, mean, and self-serving as any other group of Americans. And for all the whining and carping they do about how hard it is to be a Muslim here, oh how eager many of them were to join up with the people who call them devil-worshipping terrorists to deliver a Brooklyn-style beatdown to someone a little lower on the social ladder. I’m talking of course about support for propositions 8, 2, and 102, which most muzzies couldn’t wait to vote on.

Of course, as there are plenty of intelligent and conscientious followers of Muhammad, a few spoke up, said that this was wrong, and either for practical or ethical reasons (or both), opposed the measures. And good for them. But you know what? Fuck the rest of them. Seriously, I never want to hear again, even once, from anyone who supported props 8 or 102, that they’re a victim of discrimination. Boo fuckin hoo. How d’ya like them apples?

Muslims are far from alone here. Mormons are upset now because the same people they spent thousands of dollars disenfranchising are showing up at their doorstep to call them on it. Wait, it’s RELIGION. You have to respect it and not punch back when it punches you, right? Wrong. Every Mormon who voted for or contributed money to 8 is liable, and angry gays (and their straight allies) were absolutely within their rights to go back to the source and confront them.

I’m curious about the assumption that muslims voted generally for proposition 8. I don’t have any assumptions either way, nor do I have any evidence. I will note that Nate Silver had a post after the election about some Prop 8 myths, specifically about Black and Latino support:

the notion that Prop 8 passed because of the Obama turnout surge is silly. Exit polls suggest that first-time voters — the vast majority of whom were driven to turn out by Obama (he won 83 percent [!] of their votes) — voted against Prop 8 by a 62-38 margin. More experienced voters voted for the measure 56-44, however, providing for its passage.

Now, it’s true that if new voters had voted against Prop 8 at the same rates that they voted for Obama, the measure probably would have failed. But that does not mean that the new voters were harmful on balance — they were helpful on balance. If California’s electorate had been the same as it was in 2004, Prop 8 would have passed by a wider margin.

Furthermore, it would be premature to say that new Latino and black voters were responsible for Prop 8’s passage. Latinos aged 18-29 (not strictly the same as ‘new’ voters, but the closest available proxy) voted against Prop 8 by a 59-41 margin. These figures are not available for young black voters, but it would surprise me if their votes weren’t fairly close to the 50-50 mark.

At the end of the day, Prop 8’s passage was more a generational matter than a racial one. If nobody over the age of 65 had voted, Prop 8 would have failed by a point or two. It appears that the generational splits may be larger within minority communities than among whites, although the data on this is sketchy.

I haven’t seen any exit poll data that broke down the vote for/against Prop 8 by religion, so it’s hard to make an analogy, but support for gay mariage is probably just as generational among muslims as it is for blacks and latinos (and note that blacks do include a significant muslim fraction).

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