Anti-gay-marriage whites are not voting for Barack Obama. Forty-nine percent of white folks oppose gay marriage, but 74 percent of Republicans oppose gay marriage. And the Republican Party is almost entirely white. Where are the 48 percent of nonwhite voters who oppose gay marriage? Where are almost all nonwhite voters? In the Democratic Party. Even if every single black Republican is anti-gay, there simply aren’t enough of them to account for all the black anti-gay voters. Therein lies the danger for a Democratic candidate supporting gay marriage: that voters otherwise disposed to him will not support him because of his stance on gay marriage.
And here is where Obama is different. If the black community doesn’t flood the polls, Obama will lose in November. But he’s the first black president of the United States. Black voters are sticky with Barack Obama in a way no white president could dream of. For whites, a white president is the natural order of things. For blacks, it was the miracle of Grant Park. Once the Iowa caucus happened, even Hillary Clinton, the wife of the “first black president,” could not stem the tide. As black houses went into foreclosure after 2008 and the unemployment rate went through the roof, Obama’s support among blacks stayed amazingly firm. As the election approaches, his support is at the same level as in 2008.
A simple thought experiment reveals the issue: Try to imagine Don King in black churches exhorting congregations to vote against Barack Obama over gay marriage. Not going to happen.