Soon after last fall's election, a number of commentators began to point out the curious fact that, contrary to conventional wisdom, gay marriage may not have helped President Bush win reelection at all. The conventional wisdom had been (from the Right) that moral issues carried the day, with opposition to gay marriage leading the charge; and (from the Left) that bigotry and intolerance carried the day, with "homophobia" leading the charge. There may be something to this conventional wisdom, however one likes to formulate it. It is possible that gay marriage did get Bush re-elected--mostly because the issue was on the ballot in Ohio, the state that swung the election to Bush. The statisticians will have to sort that treacherous question out, if indeed a final sorting-out is possible. But what needs no sorting out, because it is plain as day, is the fact that a very large number of people who voted for Senator John Kerry at the top of the ticket--and, we might reasonably infer, voted for Democrats all the way down the ticket--went on to cast their vote against gay marriage. Consider: Bush lost Oregon with 48% of the vote, but a prohibition on gay marriage passed with 57% of the vote. Another blue state, Michigan, resulted in very similar numbers. In decisive Ohio, Bush won with just over half the vote, and a prohibition on gay marriage won 62%. Similarly, in very red Mississippi and Georgia, Bush won with 60% and 58% of the vote respectively, while gay marriage went down resoundingly (86% and 76%). And in this context let us not forget that other blue states, including California, have already passed prohibitions on gay marriage.
In short, the most striking fact about the decisive answer the American people gave to the question of gay marriage, is that it was emphatically the answer of the American people, not some faction or narrow majority of it. The most striking fact about gay marriage is not "division" or disagreement, but precisely agreement.
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