The strategic missteps of same-sex-marriage advocates are now undeniable.
With the important exception of Arizona, 2006 was an excellent election for those who believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. Amendments defining marriage as a man-woman union passed in seven out of eight states (Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Colorado, South Dakota, and Idaho) by an average vote of 61 percent. The narrow loss in Arizona was not because voters favored gay marriage, but because of a successful campaign against the measure's ban on domestic partner benefits.
The Arizona result might seem to indicate that voters favor domestic partner benefits, yet even here the message was mixed. Colorado, for example, not only passed a marriage amendment, but also defeated a separate measure creating domestic partnership benefits. And several other state amendments that included civil-union/domestic-partnership bans also passed. Wisconsin, for example, had a measure much like Arizona's. Yet the amendment passed comfortably in this fairly liberal state, even in the face of a huge effort by same-sex-marriage supporters. So voters everywhere still see marriage as the union of a man and a woman. They are more closely divided on the matter of civil unions and domestic partnerships, yet lean against these as well.
No doubt we'll see more state votes on marriage amendments in 2008, and perhaps a measure introduced in Arizona stating the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, while not dealing with domestic partnerships. (For ongoing coverage of the state-amendment battles, the best source is Maggie Gallagher's marriagedebate.com blog.)
Read the entire article on the Ethics and Public Policy website (new window will open).