Exit polling commissioned by the major cable news networks has found that 31 percent of people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual voted for Republicans on Election Day. That represents a big uptick from the 24 percent of gays who voted for the GOP in 2006 and from only 19 percent who did so in 2008. The trend appears to bear out pre-Election Day predictions from gay rights organizers that gay voters were angry and disenchanted with Democrats for not delivering on promises to the community.... (After reviewing the full data, Sherrill says there was a disproportionate drop in Democratic support among LGB voters compared to Hispanic, black, and young voters.)
Let me be clear: gay people who vote for Republicans need to have their heads examined. And, as I said after the presidential election in 2008, the difference in the gay vote for Kerry in 2004 and the gay vote for Obama in 2008 is a rough measure of just how many rabid gay racists are out and out there. In 2004 77% of the gays voted for Kerry; in 2008 70% of the gays voted for Obama. Only racial animus can explain the gay votes that the McCain/Palin ticket picked up. But if we're not going to see any progress on LGBT civil rights under Democrats—despite the promises and once-large-but-now-just-a-memory majorities—a significant chunk of gay voters are going to give up on the Dems and vote their economic self-interest, or vote Republican, because...
When we open our wallets for Democrats—and vote for them—the hope is that electing a Democratic president and Congress will result in significant progress on our issues. That's not just our delusional hope; that was an explicit promise made to us by Democrats. Once the Democrats were in power, everyone from Obama on down promised us, we would see real and significant progress on our issues: an end to DADT and DOMA, action on ENDA, a president willing to use the bully pulpit to aggressively defend our rights. But if, as we've seen, working to elect a Democratic president and give Democrats control of Congress results in no progress on our issues—no action on DADT, ENDA, or DOMA—then why the fuck should we bother?
If we get no progress under Democrats (just empty promises meant to excite their base), but no regress under Republicans (just empty threats meant to excite their base), why should we waste our time—and our money—worrying about who's in charge?
A lot of elections are decided by wafer-thin margins—hello there, Patty Murray—and the Dems can no more dismiss the importance of the gay vote in tight races than they can take it for granted.