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Most of California's Black Voters Backed Gay Marriage Ban

A federal judge in San Francisco ruled Thursday that same-sex marriages in California may resume as soon as Aug. 18, but gave opponents until then to seek an injunction from a higher court.

Black residents agreed with that reasoning in interviews at a Culver City mall on Thursday. David Blannon, 73, who opposed the measure, said his wife summed up her yes vote in one sentence: " 'As far as I'm concerned, that's not something I read in the Bible.' And let it go at that," he said.

But Kesha Young, 32, called religious arguments a cover for persistent prejudices rooted elsewhere. Taboos against homosexuality are exceptionally strong in Africa, McCoy acknowledged.

"I'm going to tell you something about the black race: We love to pass judgment. I think that's just a smoke screen about the church thing," said Young, a licensed vocational nurse.

Anthony Maurice-White, 31, who is gay, said he learned early in life to keep his sexual orientation to himself around fellow blacks as a matter of routine. "Closed minds," he said in the mall parking lot. "And they're afraid of change."

His friend Ike Young, 21, nodded agreement. "I'm straight, but I think a lot of people are bi-curious but they're afraid of what family members will think of them," he said.

The Latino vote for the ban also appears rooted in culture.

"It's our tradition," said Flor Guardado, 38, who voted yes. "In Latino Central American culture, the gays aren't accepted."

Guardado said that in her native Honduras, she would not tell her mother if she had a lesbian friend. "If I had a lesbian friend, they'd think I was a lesbian, too," she said.

But in Los Angeles, where she owns a hair salon, a different kind of diplomacy obtains. All eight of her employees are gay. When they asked how she voted, she tells them it's a secret.

"I'm sorry for the gay people. They have feelings," said the mother of two. "Legally, I don't want that for the children. They will be confused and think it's okay. They might think they're gay, too."

Television commercials supporting the ban skirted the issue of rights, and instead declared that schools would treat same-sex marriage as normal. Even opponents acknowledged the ads as powerful and positioned to influence minority voters, whose children account for a disproportionate share of the public school population.

Pablo Correa said his mind was made up by a TV spot in which a young girl comes home from school and tells her mother she learned how a prince could marry a prince.

"Before, I didn't know about Proposition 8. When I saw the commercial, it opened my mind," said Correa, 42, standing in his beauty supply story in Boyle Heights, in heavily Latino East Los Angeles.

"I don't discriminate against people," he said, with a wave at the rows of lipstick and makeup. "I have a lot of customers who are homosexuals, transsexuals and bisexuals. I'm not against these people."

He added: "But I'm a traditionalist. I come from a traditional family. People can do whatever they want in their own life, but I have to protect my family."

Still, strategists for neither major party saw the outcome on Proposition 8 as an opening for Republicans to corral minority voters who share a socially conservative agenda.

"I think it's unclear that the social conservatism would trump economics," said Arnold Steinberg, a Republican strategist in Los Angeles. "Certainly with Latino voters there have been opportunities to market themselves on a socially conservative level. But the Republican Party has been too bumbling and irresponsible to do anything with it."

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