Tonight's extraordinary victory for Barack Obama could have been a powerful blow to the forces of bigotry and discrimination in the US. Instead, it merely marks a shift in the epicenter of those forces. Obama is poised to win a majority of the popular vote, a majority of electoral votes, and a majority of states -- a result that would have seemed unthinkable two years ago. But ballot initiatives designed to place a "straights only" sign over the water fountain of civil rights passed without exception last night: Arizona Proposition 102, defining marriage as between a man and a woman Arkansas Measure 1, banning adoption by gay people California Proposition 8, eliminating existing marriage rights within the state Florida Amendment 2, banning same-sex marriage Both Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, both spoke out against equal rights for lesbians and gay men. Obama boasted in an October 2007 candidates' forum that he supported a "strong version of civil unions" -- a Plessy vs. Ferguson approach to discrimination. While neither Obama nor Biden formally endorsed Proposition 8, or any of the other three anti-gay measures on ballots this year, neither of them actively sought to oppose these measures, preferring the safer route to the more courageous one. Last night's victory didn't end racism, of course. But to the extent that the news signaled a sea change in American attitudes towards race, it also signaled that Americans have found new targets for their oppression. Obama acknowledged in his victory speech last night that "we still have work to do"; may his understanding of what work is needed continue to evolve.