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The "Gay" Election: Bad timing for the Democrats

Stanley Kurtz

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Has the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court just spoiled John Kerry's chance to be president? Quite possibly. It's difficult to know exactly how the politics of gay marriage will play out during the campaign. Yet there's every prospect that this issue will weigh heavily against John Kerry and Democratic congressional candidates this fall.

It hasn't quite dawned on many Americans just how big this issue could be. Gay marriage is an awkward and polarizing subject. Neither the public, politicians, nor the media are eager to take it up. Yet there's a dynamic built into this issue that makes it likely to have an explosive impact on the coming campaign.

What will happen after May 17, when Massachusetts begins to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples? Hundreds, even thousands, of gay couples will pour into Massachusetts, get married, return to their states, and begin to agitate for recognition of their marriages. This huge media event will play out continuously for two months before the Democratic National Convention -- in Boston -- on July 26. All this will cement the connection in the public mind between gay marriage, Massachusetts liberals, John Kerry, activist judges, and the Democratic party.

But the trouble for Kerry and the Democrats doesn't end there. The media firestorm over gay marriage is going to continue through the entire campaign (and beyond). This country has never confronted a situation in which the marriages of a substantial body of citizens go unrecognized in large parts of the country. What happens if someone in a same-sex marriage is injured in a non-recognizing state? Will his spouse get hospital visitation rights? What if a marriage dissolves, and property in a non-recognizing state has to be divided? Complications will proliferate, and each new permutation will mean more news stories and more pleas for national recognition.

Read the entire article on the National Review Online website.

Posted: 2/11/04



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