September 13, 2012
(first of a two column series)
Same-Sex Marriage on Ballot in
In May President Obama told ABC
“I think that same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
I stuck my neck out and predicted, “Barack Obama made himself a
one-term president” by taking that stand.
The day before he spoke, North
Carolina became the 32nd consecutive state to vote
down same-sex marriage, and it did so by a thumping 22 percent,
partly due to strong black opposition.
Every state allowing men to
marry men, or women, women – did so as a result of a law passed
by the legislature or by court decision. Whenever the public
could vote on the issue, same-sex marriage was defeated – even
in liberal California where Prop 8 limiting marriage to a man
and a woman passed 53-47 in 2008 when Obama defeated McCain
Legislature voted for same-sex marriage in 2009, but it was
overturned in a referendum in 2010. Furthermore, two dozen
legislators who voted for it, were defeated and Republicans took
over state government.
Now the issue is
up for referenda in four states: Maine again, Minnesota,
Maryland and Washington State. Polls in three of four states
are pro-gay by big margins: Maine by 55% to 36%; Washington’s
support for same-sex marriage has soared from 50% to 43% in the
summer to 56%-38% recently. Similarly, Maryland support shot up
from 49%-47% to 54% to 40%.
legislatures in Washington and Maryland voted for same-sex
marriage, indicating they are as liberal as such states with gay
marriage as Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Vermont
(and Washington DC).
Could 2012 be the
year of gay marriage victories?
I’ll stick my neck
out again and predict none will pass.
First, the latest
Minnesota poll shows 52% oppose gay marriage vs. 37% in favor.
Second, most polls
favored gay unions before the vote – but were defeated in the
only poll that matters, at the ballot box, in all 32 states.
confident of a California victory, for example. However, the
National Organization for Marriage funded ads on
African-American stations, opposing same-sex marriage. Blacks
supported Prop 8 while overwhelmingly backing the first black
Third, this has
become a major issue between the political parties. The
Democratic Party Platform now supports same-sex marriage. The
Republican Platform attacked the “court-ordered redefinition of
marriage” in such states as Iowa and Massachusetts. (All three
Iowa Supreme Court Justices voting for gay marriage who were up
for re-election – were defeated.)
platform called it “an assault on the foundations of our
society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of
years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with
the rearing of children….We reaffirm our support for a
Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as the union of one
man and one woman.”
Given the public’s
support for that provision in 32 states, it is likely to be a
motivator for conservatives to turn out, voting against the
proposals in all four states.
Catholic Church has made this a major issue. In Minnesota
Archbishop John Nienstedt issued a pastoral letter read from
most pulpits in which he said, “Our effort to support God’s
unchanging plan for marriage is not a campaign against anyone,
but rather a positive effort to promote the truth about marriage
as a union of a man and a woman.” Catholics donated $1 million
for the fight.
The Archbishop of
Baltimore is taking a similar stand, and the Knights of Columbus
have donated $100,000 so far with more to come. Catholics are
41% of church-goers. Derek McCoy, who leads the Maryland
Marriage Alliance, plans to spend $1.5 million per week on ad
In the first Maine
referendum, Catholic Bishop Richard Malone was the most
outspoken supporter of traditional marriage and asked parishes
for a second collection that raised $500,000 for the fight.
however, he has “chosen not to engage in this year’s campaign”
says Carroll Conley, Executive Director of Christian Civic
League of Maine that is leading the battle to repeal the
Legislature’s vote. They are quietly educating Catholics on the
importance of traditional marriage, and Catholics are 61% of
will have no second collection this year. That will hurt.
Conley says the other side has raised $2-$3 million, while he
has only $140,000 contributed thus far.
“We believe that
mom and dad both matter,” he said. “If we redefine marriage we
will guarantee that children will be without either a mother or
father. They will suffer.”
John Guernsey adds, “If we lose traditional marriage, religious
liberty will be lost along with it.” More on that in next week’s