I'm still bemused by the drop in gay support for Obama after Kerry. I'd put it down primarily to the fact that the gay political establishment, with its usual brilliance, fused itself with the Clinton campaign very early on, and there was a real slice of Clintonian anti-Obama hate that wouldn't go away. For much of the campaign, I expressed surprise at how so many gay men and lesbians were indifferent or hostile to Obama. Maybe there was a particular lesbian bond with Clinton, which may have led some lesbians to pick McCain (they're susceptible to a little Alaskan boobage as well). Maybe that goes for some diva-worshipping gay men as well, men who so identified with Hillary that they couldn't reconcile themselves to Obama. But a reader suggests that racism may be more alive and well in the gay community than some of us want to believe:
I think you could do quite a bit more with that startling statistic - McCain 27% vs. Bush 23% among gays, Obama 70% vs. Kerry 77%. As a married gay man I'm upset about Prop 8, but I'm also upset about this blame-the-blacks line. The black vote in California simply wasn't large enough to make a difference, so why are people focusing on that? The eagerness to jump on the black vote for Prop 8, together with the statistic above, points to a smoldering issue in the gay community.
Now, if there were any signals of reluctance from Obama on gay rights, that would be one thing, but here's a candidate who made his debut on the national stage with a speech whose most electrifying passage contained the phrase "and we've got gay friends in the red states." I remember being thunderstruck when he said that I'd never heard a national candidate talk so matter-of-factly, so un-self-consciously, about gay people. And a version of that line has been in every stump speech he's given, probably more than a thousand times across the country. So there's no way you can argue that McCain is better than Obama on gay-political grounds.
McCain is admittedly more gay-friendly than a lot of Republicans, but his record is demonstrably worse than Obama's, and if you throw in Palin and the Supreme Court you have a pretty bleak picture. So what is going on here? I have to say, anecdotally among gay friends I notice a certain amount of casual racism that shocks me, notwithstanding the dancing to black music and the supposedly affectionate impersonations of black voices. People talk about the irony of blacks voting for Obama but against Prop 8. Well, let's also talk seriously about the irony of gay people voting Republican in greater numbers than ever before -- in the year of Obama.
I take the point - although we should also note the overwhelming support for Obama as well. But I think there's something there as well.