Maryland, Black Voters And The End Of A Conservative Argument

MarylandBig news out of Maryland, where gay marriage opponents are hoping to repeal the state's equality law this November.

Back in March, polls showed that 52% of residents supported the law, while 44% wanted repeal, but a new Public Policy Polling survey now shows a remarkable change: 57% of voters say they support marriage equality, while only 37% say they're against it, and PPP the switch is due to increased support for equality among African-Americans.

The movement over the last two months can be explained almost entirely by a major shift in opinion about same-sex marriage among black voters. Previously 56% said they would vote against the new law with only 39% planning to uphold it. Those numbers have now almost completely flipped, with 55% of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36% now opposed.

These numbers can be attributed in part to President Obama's recent endorsement of equality. Prior to the announcement, 41% of African-American voters supported same-sex marriage. That number has since jumped to 59%.

Considering this seismic shift, Steve Kornacki at Salon argues that the increasingly likely repeal defeat in Maryland will take the air out of a classic right-wing argument about gay marriage:

In Maryland, the surge in black support means that gay marriage is very likely to be approved by voters this fall. If that happens, opponents will no longer be able to make a claim they’ve been relying on for years – that everywhere gay marriage has been on the ballot, it’s been rejected by voters. 

That will no longer be the case a few months from now, unless there’s some kind of major, hard-to-envision shift in public opinion in Maryland.

"The anti-gay marriage crowd should probably enjoy their 0-for-32 talking point while they can, because it won’t be valid for much longer," he writes.


  1. Thomasina says

    In other news, I just bought a carton of eggs; it seems pretty safe for me to go ahead and start considering the whole dozen to be chickens right now.

  2. scott says

    This would be awesome-@THOMASINA, I know how you feel, I agree it’s def too earlt to celebrate- but this gives hope to the marriage equality advocates in Maryland. We just need to work on continuing to show everyone what marriage is truly about, what the anti people want to do and how they want to discriminate and continuing to work extra hard at reaching out to other minority voters- especially the African-American community.

  3. Lucas says

    I would prefer our side stop the premature crowing until we actually win a vote on this topic somewhere. What good are opinion polls while we have a perfect FAIL record at the ballot box….

  4. MateoM says

    Hopefully this will be the beginning of the end of comments disparaging african americans as anti-gay. I’m getting tired of a bunch of uppity queer crackers using that stereotype to preach racism on this site.

  5. Walter Fletcher says

    I can’t wait to see if we as a state will show true acknowledgement of human rights. I live in Maryland and have been wanting for my brothers and sisters to have the same rights as me. It seems eyes are finally opening to the fight for equality.

  6. Oz in OK says

    I see this quantum shift toward Equality support among African-Americans, the NAACP publicly supporting Marriage Equality, and I can’t help but think back to all those posts yelling about how pointless it was for President Obama to publicly support Marriage Equality… and I can’t help but chuckle.

  7. Robert says

    Just a couple of weeks ago there were so many people–so-called experts on cable tv, people all over the web, including people commenting here–saying the the President’s support for marriage equality was just symbolic, that nothing would change, he did it too late, etc. The subsequent increase in support among African Americans, the number of officials & organizations who have followed the President’s example in supporting equality (NAACP, senators, people in Congress, African American celebrities) is remarkable and shows the clear impact of what the President did. And think about what it means around the world to hear this President support full equality.

    Yes we need to wait until the votes are counted before opening the champagne, but these polling numbers are still amazing.

  8. Larry says

    I really hope the repeal does fail so my partner and I of 22 years can finally get married. Still I have doubts – this article is relying solely on polls but most straight African American voters are not likely motivated enough to vote on this issue at all even if they say the support gay marriage in a poll.
    Time will tell if we are premature in predicting an outcome.

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