Gay Marraige Back as a Campaign Issue

Rick Moran
Yesterday's ruling by the California Supreme Court that lifts the ban on gay marraige in that state - a ban approved by 60% of voters in a referendum - will no doubt revive the same issues that were fought over in the 2004 election.

What is "marriage?" Can the courts override the clear will of the people?

In 2004 the issue cut hard in favor of  the Republicans. Some even attribute Bush's clinching Ohio victory to the gay marriage issue being on the ballot in that state. But will that hold true for 2008?

Here is the reaction from both candidates yesterday:

Obama's campaign said in a statement yesterday, "Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage."

McCain's campaign said he "supports the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman, just as he did in his home state of Arizona. John McCain doesn't believe judges should be making these decisions."

Note that Obama does not support gay marriage but rather "civil unions. He was silent on the matter of the courts overriding the will of the people in this regard.

McCain, on the other hand. addresses the issue that concerns conservativese the most; judicial activism contrary to what the people want.

Polls show most Americans favor the idea of states making up their own minds about the issue. Both candidates favor that position. But it is McCain who sees the danger in having judges rule on matters best left to the legislature or the ballot box.

In some states where the ban is under threat from legal challenge, McCain's position might resonate a little more than Obama's Does this mean the issue is going to be as important as it was in 2004? Probably not because most states already have bans against gay marriage in place and the issue will not be on the ballot.

Whatever advantage that will accrue to either candidate will be small and noticeable in few states.
Yesterday's ruling by the California Supreme Court that lifts the ban on gay marraige in that state - a ban approved by 60% of voters in a referendum - will no doubt revive the same issues that were fought over in the 2004 election.

What is "marriage?" Can the courts override the clear will of the people?

In 2004 the issue cut hard in favor of  the Republicans. Some even attribute Bush's clinching Ohio victory to the gay marriage issue being on the ballot in that state. But will that hold true for 2008?

Here is the reaction from both candidates yesterday:

Obama's campaign said in a statement yesterday, "Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage."

McCain's campaign said he "supports the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman, just as he did in his home state of Arizona. John McCain doesn't believe judges should be making these decisions."

Note that Obama does not support gay marriage but rather "civil unions. He was silent on the matter of the courts overriding the will of the people in this regard.

McCain, on the other hand. addresses the issue that concerns conservativese the most; judicial activism contrary to what the people want.

Polls show most Americans favor the idea of states making up their own minds about the issue. Both candidates favor that position. But it is McCain who sees the danger in having judges rule on matters best left to the legislature or the ballot box.

In some states where the ban is under threat from legal challenge, McCain's position might resonate a little more than Obama's Does this mean the issue is going to be as important as it was in 2004? Probably not because most states already have bans against gay marriage in place and the issue will not be on the ballot.

Whatever advantage that will accrue to either candidate will be small and noticeable in few states.