Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 20, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

GAY MARRIAGE....The New York Times has a headline up right now that says this:

Strong Support Is Found for Ban on Gay Marriage

After reading through a bunch of gobbledygook the story finally tells us the basic numbers: 55% are in favor of a constitutional amendment, 40% are opposed.

I'm not sure this is really such strong support, though, especially when it comes to a constitutional amendment. It's worth remembering that the Equal Rights Amendment also had public majorities in favor and passed both the House and Senate by margins of over 90%. Based on this, my guess is that a constitutional ban on gay marriage doesn't have much of a chance.

But I'm not sure that really matters anyway. What everyone really seems to care about is not so much whether a gay marriage amendment can actually pass, but whether it will be a good political issue for Republicans in 2004. Sadly, I think it will be. Karl Rove has made it clear that he thinks it's critical to get a big turnout among the conservative Christian base, and this issue is tailor made for that. I suspect that Bush will come out in favor of the amendment, but do it in a "more in sorrow than in anger" kind of way that doesn't hurt him much with swing voters.

Democrats, meanwhile, will once again be forced into a more complicated position: in favor of civil unions but not in favor of gay marriage. Hard to make a bumper sticker out of that. And what's worse and surprising to me is that the New York Times poll found almost exactly the same opposition to civil unions as to gay marriage.

Fasten your seatbelts. Stormy weather ahead.

Kevin Drum 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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