Obama's popularity may affect 'No on 8'

October 28, 2008 7:17:57 PM PDT
Voters who may shatter records going to the polls to vote for the presidential candidates could also influence what else is on the ballot. Case in point is Proposition 8 which would eliminate same-sex marriages.

Barack Obama's historic candidacy is expected to bring record numbers of African American voters to the polls.

Now some in California are mulling how that turnout here could affect Proposition 8.

Reverend Yvette Flunder of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ, supports same-sex marriage, but knows many blacks are religious conservatives.

"It's rooted in our traditions and culture and the conversations about same gender marriage is a conversation we have not really had in the way in which we should," said Rev. Flunder.

Churches are very influential in the African American community. More than religious, they are part of the fabric of life.

Reverend Edgar Boyd, pastor of Bethel A.M.E Church in San Francisco will vote to ban same-sex marriage. His denomination believes marriage is between a man and a woman.

"And what a preacher says from the black pulpit weighs heavily on the decisions for individual parishioners. However there are many parishioners who have their own opinions," said Rev. Boyd.

USF professor of politics James Taylor says whatever the opinions on Proposition 8, blacks make up less than 7 percent of the state's population -- too few to make a difference.

"What I would be more concerned about in terms of extending same-sex marriage rights is the Latino population. Even though they aren't monolithic, they are certainly heavily influenced by the Catholic church," said Taylor, Ph.D.

In Fresno, a Catholic priest divided his parish by announcing he supports same-sex marriage.

"Being Catholics we are made to follow by commandments, and God made them to be Adam and eve not Adam and Steve," said Catholic parishioner Esmeralda Gonzalez.

Leaders of other religions see it differently. Presbyterian ministers gathered in San Francisco to make their voices heard.


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