How Will Mobilization for Obama Affect the Vote on Proposition 8?

Edge_viewimage_storyphp Scott Stiffler in Edge (Miami):

One of the largely unasked questions of the election is how the turnout by African Americans in California will affect Proposition 8. Will increased numbers of African American voters who arrive at California polls in support of Barack Obama play a decisive role in eliminating the state’s recent same sex marriage advances?

Several veteran human rights activists are working hard within the community to convince African Americans that defeating Proposition 8 is part of the logical continuation of gains made in the civil rights era and beyond.

Their work serves a s a rebuttal to a contentious New York Times article that speculated, “Black voters, enthused by Mr. Obama’s candidacy but traditionally conservative on issues involving homosexuality, could pour into voting stations in record numbers to punch the Obama ticket – and then cast a vote for Proposition 8.”

Proposition 8, a result of last year’s state Supreme Court decision allowing for same sex marriage, asks voters to decide, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.” As each side spends millions to bend the hearts and minds of voters to their side, the latest polls from this past weekend show a statistical dead heat after adjustments are made for the margin of error. The first poll, sponsored by No on 8 and conducted by Lake Research, shows 47 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed. A Survey USA poll shows 47 percent in favor and 42 percent opposed.

But is the link between conservative voting patterns and skepticism among African Americans towards gay rights legitimate, or is it just another attempt to box a diverse population into a convenient label?