I was a little surprised when I read Paul Waldman’s commentary in the American Prospect magazine entitled:
We’ve Already Won the Battle Over Gay Marriage
Did I miss that particular memo? Marriage is defined as between one man and one woman in 30 state constitutions, including ten states that voted for Obama in 2008. Every time a gay marriage ban has been on the ballot, it has passed with one exception (but a few years later it passed on the second try). In 2004, putting gay marriage bans on the ballot may have been the single biggest boost to George Bush’s reelection because it energized conservative voters. Only one state legislature has passed a bill making it legal for same-gender couples to marry. Yes, there have been a few crucial victories from state supreme courts, but those victories have caused many of these anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives. I could go on and on.
Don’t get me wrong – I support equal rights for same-gender couples. I would love to celebrate a victory, but I don’t think we have achieved it yet. And there are some very encouraging signs of changes in public opinion that will make future victories a little easier to come by. But the Religious Right is not dead. Wounded? Maybe, but not dead. I would not underestimate the resources and vigor they will bring to fights on same-gender marriage in the next few years. Rather than rest on our laurels and claim victory prematurely, we need to get ready for the coming fights.