Gene Expression

I heard on the radio several times in the past few weeks commentators refer to minority opposition to gay marriage, specifically the fact that New York and California have large numbers of blacks and Latinos who are voters. I was curious if Latinos really are notably more opposed to gay marriage than non-Hispanic whites. So I looked in the GSS. I limited the data to the years 2006 and 2008 for the variable MARHOMO, which asks:

Do you agree or disagree? j. Homosexual couples should have the right to marry one another.

The sample sizes for the groups are as follows:

Non-Hispanic whites = 2,292
Non-Hispanic blacks = 402
Mexican Americans = 309

Results below.

i-3d070d35b1f22c10b3610b61e0909988-gaymar.png

Using a scale where those who “strongly agree” with gay marriage = 0 and those who “strongly disagree” = 4, and weighting the proportions, you get a mean value like so:

Non-Hispanic White 2.24
Black 2.71
Mexican American 2.26

Mexican Americans are much more like Non-Hispanic whites when it comes to this issue than they are like blacks. Ethnic minorities should not be thrown into the same bin. For what it’s worth, Non-Hispanics of “Other Race,” almost certainly mostly Asian Americans, are even more supportive of gay marriage than whites.

Note: I used Mexican Americans because the sample sizes for other Latino groups was very small in the GSS. Puerto Ricans, who are the dominant group in New York, may be more socially conservative, I do not know.

Comments

  1. #1 Chris
    May 14, 2009

    How shameful that as human beings we can’t even agree on that fact that all of us deserve to be treated equally.

    God must be REAL proud of us, huh.

  2. #2 chezjake
    May 14, 2009

    New Quinnipiac poll on the gay marriage in NY just released today:
    http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1318.xml?ReleaseID=1299

  3. #3 Kate
    May 14, 2009

    Bleh. For the first time in my life I’m slightly embarassed to be black. It is unconscionable for a group of people who didn’t truly have full and equal marriage rights in the US until Loving v Virginia to support such rampant and widespread discrimintation against another group just because “we” find some aspects of thier lives to be “icky”.

  4. #4 LongMa
    May 14, 2009

    This is a function of religion. Blacks believe in the bible more literally, I believe Razib has shown this before. If you are a god-fearing literalistic than there is no doubt homosexuality is a sin, it is stated as son in teh bible in 3 places to my count. We say you should not enforce your religion on those who do not share it but people vote, often, based on their moral beliefs, and most Christians who really believe as many blacks do will say “oh well, God is wrong in this situation” or “God didn’t really mean that for 2009″, etc.

    There is nothing in the bible against marrying outside of your race or ethnic group, although there are some prohibitions that can be thought to be against people who do not share the same faith marrying, but I believe that is in the old testament and referring to Jews marrying out.

  5. #5 D
    May 14, 2009

    The interesting thing is that this perception about Hispanics is seen even in stories that include data showing otherwise. eg.

    http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid84049.asp

  6. #6 razib
    May 14, 2009

    This is a function of religion.

    yes.

    http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2008/10/are_blacks_exceptionally_homop.php

    more specifically, religious culture, since non-religious blacks seem somewhat more homophobic than non-religious whites. the relative gay-friendliness of mexican americans might have to do with their concentration in california, where the dominant culture is relatively socially liberal (so in california mexican americans might be moderately conservative locally, but moderately liberal nationally).

    There is nothing in the bible against marrying outside of your race or ethnic group

    this is very false. its falsity can be shown by the quotations which racialists (white and non-white) use from the bible. ezra being prominent.

  7. #7 Isabel
    May 14, 2009

    “…the same faith marrying, but I believe that is in the old testament and referring to Jews marrying out.”

    Well if it’s just referring to the Jews marrying out, I guess it’s okay. Not offensive at all.

  8. #8 TGGP
    May 14, 2009

    How shameful that as human beings we can’t even agree on that fact that all of us deserve to be treated equally.
    To play Devil’s Advocate, I don’t think people who commit crimes should be treated the same as people who don’t, they should receive punishment. Under what circumstances we apply such a distinction for different treatment is precisely what is at question. One may also say that we are all equally prohibited from marrying our own gender. A flat-taxer may believe that their system fairly makes everyone pay the same percentage (and rarely considers the question of whether progressivity is framed in terms of income or consumption), while a “head-tax” proponent would object that it makes people pay unequal amounts.

  9. #9 David Ross
    May 15, 2009

    It really doesn’t matter in the original post’s context, Isabel and LongMa, what the Bible teaches. If some books in the Bible are anti-miscegenation, fine. If (a minority of) Jews want to keep marriage within the Tribe, let ‘em. These community regulations have no bearing on secular law. (And they won’t affect which lady is lucky enough to receive my attentions at the bar this weekend…)

    And begging your pardon, Kate, but this post is not even raising the question on whether the *State* should recognise a marriage outside the Tribe. It’s raising the question why blacks, of all Americans, think that the State ought to hold marriage to a strict definition. Kate, maybe you could ask around and report on what you find…?

  10. #10 Sigmund
    May 15, 2009

    From other study results I have seen I strongly suspect it is the religious context that is the critical point here.
    US blacks show somewhat similar results to one other group in both the question of acceptance of gay marriage and the acceptance of the theory of evolution. That group is white fundamentalist Christians. Razib can correct me if I’m wrong here but as far as I can remember the figures for religiosity are pretty high for US blacks overall and within that total the most popular churches are of the literal bible believing variety.
    In other words most (or at least a very high %age) US blacks are fundamentalist christians and so you should expect to see the viewpoints of fundamentalist christians reflected in their answers.

  11. #11 eoin
    May 15, 2009

    ” the relative gay-friendliness of mexican americans might have to do with their concentration in california, where the dominant culture is relatively socially liberal (so in california mexican americans might be moderately conservative locally, but moderately liberal nationally).”

    Or it might show that Catholicism is not really a fundamentalist religion, at least as practiced.

    You know this from the Pew surveys, Catholics are broadly inline with mainline protestantism ( and not even too far from atheists) , even though American Catholics are far less likely than mainline protestants to be college graduates ( If I recall it was 30% vs 80%). The big outlier is abortion.

  12. #12 LongMa
    May 15, 2009

    David:

    “These community regulations have no bearing on secular law. (And they won’t affect which lady is lucky enough to receive my attentions at the bar this weekend…)”

    I think you are being naive. Laws are made by people and when people can vote for referendums or “fire” politicians the beliefs of the public do matter. People who are serious Christians are not like Jews, Hindus, of Buddhism. They believe their religion is universal and applies to everyone, even if those people do not recognize their “god”.

    In my opinion this is the problem with Abrahamic (other than Judaism) religions, they are xenophobic and universal at the same time. They teach anyone and everyone should adhere to their faith (the universal). If you have heard of “God” but reject his “word” then you are sinning, and the implication is that you need further proselytizing or something is wrong with you, hence you are now in an out-group (the xenophobia). When these people vote on their moral values they are not thinking in a pluralist way because they do not believe their can be pluralism in morality because everyone lives in the framework of morality set by their god.

    By the way, I am African American and attended by Catholic and Protestant church services until I was about 14 years-old.

  13. #13 Ky Lewis
    May 15, 2009

    This has to be one of most ignorant and race obsessed articles I have ever read. Since you are so blinded by race you decided to leave out the most determinative factors in ones opinion concerning sexuality. The fact of the matter is black people are products of being enslaved and socialized in the bible belt. Black people are actually more tolerant of homosexuality then there white counterparts from the same cultural/geographic areas. Compare black opinions on homosexuality to Scotts-Irish in Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas then we can have a conversation.

  14. #14 Kate
    May 15, 2009

    I’m not raising the question of why the “State” does anything. I’m merely stating I have a problem with it when one group, a group who has been historically discriminated against in this very regard then goes on to discriminate and/or support the continued discrimination of another group in the same sort of instance.

    Take the question away from marriage, and the variable away from race. Group A has, in the past, been discriminated against by group B, because Group A chews using an up and down motion instead of a side to side one. For a long time, people from Group A were seen as less than human and were not allowed to marry at all, but times changed. Over time, people from Group B began to see people from Group A as not all that different, and they got to marry each other. Then at some point, a person from Group A wanted to marry a person from Group B. People from Group B, at least a lot of them, don’t want thier children to marry Group A “chompers”. When (eventually) the government that rules over them both declares, on behalf of all the mixed-marriage couples who have fought for this while being reviled by both sides, that Chompers and Non-Chompers are entitled to the same marriage rights, no matter what, there’s celebrations and everybody’s happy. Until group C comes along. Group C chews with thier mouths open, which everybody agrees is pretty gross. But they’re not interested in either Group A or Group B, they just want to marry each other, but are prevented from doing so, because chewing with your mouth open is “icky”. Over time, Group B begins to accept Group C because, well…it just dosen’t affect anyone that much. But Group A is almost violently opposed to Group C because they don’t chew like Group A does.

    With all the emotionally loaded words are taken out of the situation, can’t you see how blatantly wrong and ignorant Irrationality has nothing

  15. #15 Kate
    May 15, 2009

    Wow, I’m not sure exactly how that happened, but my statement was cut up there at the end. It should have read:

    “With all the emotionally loaded words are taken out of the situation, can’t you see how blatantly wrong and ignorant that is? That kind of irrationality has nothing to do with questions of “the Tribe” vs “the State” on the issue of recognising or not recognising a marriage, it is to do with the question of whether or not equal the rights that so many have fought for are in fact being applied across all segments of society.”

  16. #16 ogunsiron
    May 16, 2009

    Ky lewis says “This has to be one of most ignorant …”

    I’ve always hated the way this word is often used in america. What exactly is “ignorant” , that is “unknowing” or “lacking in knowledge” about razib’s article ? You say that race has noting to do with one’s opinion about sexuality. Razib just used DATA to show that yes, racial identity seems to have an influence on what one thinks about gay marriage.
    Just what is “ignorant” about that ?

  17. #17 LongMa
    May 17, 2009

    ogunsiron:

    Does racial identity have some influence on what one thinks of gay marriage or does ethnic identity. African Americans, although it is includes any black that comes to America still is predominately an ethnic group of people who trace a significant part of their ancestry to U.S. based slaves. That is not a “race”. They are also about 20% white. Saying “race” suggest biological function.

  18. #18 ogunsiron
    May 18, 2009

    LongMa,

    Fair enough. I think culture ( religion being a part of that ) is what matters here and not biological differences. Not that biological differences don’t matter at all but i don’t think that’s what’s most important here. For example, haitians and jamaicans are both homphobic black caribbean peoples of very similar genetic background but the jamaicans are much much more anti-gay than the haitians .