Hispanics Support Marriage Equality the Same as Whites

Timothy Kincaid

May 26th, 2009

Nate Silver, the genius behind FiveThreeEight’s voter trend analysis, has looked at attitudes towards gay marriage in **White voters and Hispanic voters and found them to be virtually identical.

There is a somewhat persistent conservative myth that Hispanic voters are vehemently opposed to gay marriage. Although a majority of Hispanics are probably are opposed to gay marriage — as most (though no longer all) surveys suggest are a majority of Americans in general — Hispanics appear to be no more opposed to gay marriage than are whites.

Silver weighted several recent surveys on the issue and found that nationally Whites and Hispanics support marriage equality at about 47%. Blacks averaged around 31%

California has a disproportionatly large population of Hispanic voters. In the efforts to overturn Proposition 8 by means of initiative, this time round leaders had best not make the mistake of ignoring racial minorities or assuming that they are, by definition, not supportive.

– – – –

** I’m always bemused at the White v. Hispanic classifications as it often leaves my friends in a bit of nowhere land. More than a few have Hispanic ancestory or a Spanish last name but are often fully assimilated into “mainstream” culture. Since Miguel speaks no Spanish, what box is he to tick? Is he culturally any less “white” than, say, my Armenian friends?


May 26th, 2009

Sorry to be crass, but you Americans can be such morons when it comes to ethnicity. You have come to create the little fairytale that white means English-speaking Anglo-Saxon.

You can have Black, Asian, and White Hispanics. Ethnicity doesn’t compete with race.

As for Miguel, it depends. Does he still maintain inherited cultures? Gastronomy? Customs?

I’ve always been of the mind that you’re not particularly Hispanic unless you are born and raised in an Ibero-American culture.


May 26th, 2009

Disproportionate compared to what?


May 27th, 2009

New York state polls generally show Hispanics and whites to be the same with support for gay marriage. One poll even showed Hispanics scoring a point higher.


May 27th, 2009

I’ve always found that interesting as well… In the purest sense, a Latino person of Spanish or Portuguese descent would be racially white, but it has more to do with the perceptions of others. For a long time, Irish, Italian and Jewish people weren’t considered white in this country, either.

“White” has historically been more like an exclusive country club than a race.


May 27th, 2009

I was also going to say, Hispanic and Latino are ethnic terms, not racial, sort of like “Anglo-American.” A Hispanic person can be Caucasian, black, Native American or Asian. Cases in point: former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori (Japanese) and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim (Lebanese).

I tend to prefer the term “Caucasian,” as it lacks the exclusivity of “white,” not to mention the fact that not all “white” people have stereotypically “white” features.


May 27th, 2009

But all this talk about what defines “white” or Hispanic is neither here nor there. It’s just fun material for a college classroom. For the purposes of this poll, we generally know what they mean.

Timothy Kincaid

May 27th, 2009


Disproportionate compared to other states. California’s ethnic makeup is

43.0% are White, non-Hispanic or Latino
35.7% are Hispanic or Latino (of any race)
12.2% Asian American
6.3% Black or African American
3.3% mixed
0.7% American Indian

For some reason, the No on 8 Campaign seemed to primarily target the 43% and didn’t appear to put much effort into the remaining 57%. Hindsight shows that to have been an error.


May 27th, 2009

I never understood the notion that somehow Hispanics/Latinos are more rabidly against same sex marriage. I’m Latino and pretty much all of my relatives (even those back in South America) are for equal rights. Spain legalized same sex marriage, and a few other Latin American nations now have at least civil unions or domestic partnerships. People assume that just because they are overwhelmingly Catholic that they are automatically bigoted, but religion there is more of a cultural thing than a impetus for political action, and liberation theology dominates their interpretation of faith rather than dogmatic fundamentalism.

Alex Blaze

May 28th, 2009

I agree with the fact that “hispanic” is largely meaningless. But those surveys will keep on asking about it because it’s a whole lot easier to put white, black, asian, and native people from Cuba, Puerto Rico, central America, and Mexico all in the same box than to actually stop and think about who they are.

What about me? Half argentine (1st gen) and half “whatevah” white (you know what I’m talkin’ about). My mom’s more middle eastern than she is native american, and yet gets lumped in with mexicans who are mostly native, and cuban immigrants who are mostly white-european. (not that there’s anything wrong with those racial backgrounds, and she identifies as “argentine” first and “spanish” well after. so maybe a “hispanic” designation is necessary for the New World?)

Then I found out that my alma mater used me as a “minority” to talk about how diverse they were (well, it wasn’t so personal, but I was included in their “23% minority” statistic), and I was like, well, on some levels, yes, and on others, no.

Race is a lot more complicated than ticking a box. I wish we could move beyond that, but seeing the conservative response to Sotomayor, where they’re picking apart her name, her culinary tastes, and calling her an affirmative action appointment, well, it’s kinda obvious that we haven’t moved beyond all that.

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