Mistakes Always Come BackSeveral months ago I sent out an e-mail to my friends. I sent it out in response to a number messages I had received from people I knew who were working very hard for same sex marriage. In that e-mail I made two arguments. First I explained that I feel very strongly that same sex marriage should be legal, and my distaste for the opposition to same sex marriage borders on outrage. Second, I argued that the campaign for same section marriage was a very very bad idea because it would create backlash and play directly into the hands of the conservative strategy. My friends generally disagreed with me, and let me know that the left must constantly continue to charge forward and not be cowed by the right’s agenda.
Volokh very smartly postulates that a same sex marriage ban (politicized by the media frenzy over a few dozen weddings in San Francisco) may have made the difference in getting out the conservative vote in Ohio. In other words it may have been the single issue that put Bush in the Whitehouse by turning out the entire religious right, even those who feel betrayed by the Bush administration.
Even if this isn’t true, it certainly helped. And now several more states (by overwhelming majorities) have specifically banned same sex marriage. In my mind this is a giant step backwards for gays and lesbians.
In this world if we are unwilling to make compromises, to toil to build a workable model that energizes voters, the left will continue to lose ground as it has basically throughout my entire lifetime. The red states are not going to go away. We have to learn how to win in them. Defeats can be victories in the long run if we learn from them. Let’s try to take something away form this one.
1: For some reason liberals have a hard time believing that there are people to Bush’s right. Believe me, they exist. The religious right has not managed to ban abortion. They didn’t manage to ban gay marriage at the federal level. In fact they made very little progress at all. They hope Bush will help them, but they needed to be energized to actually bother to go vote (just as leftists need to be energized to vote for Democrats). I think gay marriage helped them do this. It didn’t change peoples minds, it changed their willingness to drive to the polls.