For citizens who are casting votes today in four states – Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington – there is a chance that at least one of those states will make history as it becomes the first in the nation where voters approve marriage equality at the ballot box. Recent polls have shown support for marriage equality in the United States rising above 50% for the second straight year. With President Obama’s endorsement of equal marriage rights in May – compounded by affirmations from the NAACP, LULAC, NCLR, and minority faith leaders – support among black and Latino voters has also markedly increased.
A number of recent polls show an all-time high in support for marriage among African Americans and Latinos, who are becoming an increasingly important voting bloc in many states. A Washington Post/ABC poll, taken after President Obama’s public endorsement, shows that support for marriage equality in the African American community is at 59%. In Maryland, which has a high concentration of black voters, leaders in the faith community have played a crucial role in encouraging support for LGBT rights. Most recently, Rev. Delman Coates urged support in the Washington Post, saying marriage equality was “a matter of justice and fairness” and anything less would be “discrimination.”
Support among Latinos for LGBT rights is also at an all-time high. Nearly 60% of Latinos say gay and lesbian people should be accepted by society, a figure which grows to 68% when counting just second generation Hispanics. From participating in televised debates to radio shows, Latinos in the four states voting on marriage this year have been integral in Spanish language outreach and encouraging support among members of the community. In Maryland, the most prominent Latino and immigrant advocacy organization, CASA de Maryland, has played a crucial role in the campaign to approve Question 6 and has been featured widely in the media, including in a story that ran in the Washington Post.
In this election, where so much is at stake for the LGBT community, there is evidence we will see an unprecedented show of support among black and Latino voters for marriage equality. Minority voters in those states may even tip the election in favor of LGBT rights, marking a historic victory and demonstrating the electoral strength of our combined communities.