I realize that many Democratic progressives (and even some centrists) think that gay marriage will be no big deal as a issue. In my view, that is dangerous wishful thinking. Gay marriage is a train wreck about to happen for Democrats which could not only alienate swing voters from our party but also split traditionally Democratic constituencies apart. Polls have indicated the vast majority of African American, Hispanic and working class white voters oppose same sex unions. The Republican-oriented Powerline blog http://tinyurl.com/9hjvf is already gloating about a Baltimore Circuit Court ruling striking down Maryland's law banning same sex marriage. Many political strategists expect that the prospect of gay marriage in Maryland will boost the re-election chances of incumbent GOP Governor Robert Ehrlich and the Senatorial candidacy of Lt. Governor Michael Steele this November.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday http://tinyurl.com/a77s7 that Democrats in the Maryland Legislature are attempting to craft a legislative plan that would stall a state court ruling on the gay marriage law until after the November election. Unfortunately, many of these same Legislators support the concept of gay marriage and only want to delay a possible overturn of same sex union prohibitions until after the 2006 election. Democratic Party leaders in New York and California have embraced same sex marriage and both states are basically a Governor away from legal recognition of same sex unions. Gay marriage would be a reality in California if it were not for the veto pen of the Republican Governor Arnold Schwarznegger.
I support equal rights for gays and lesbians in employment and housing and certainly favor vigorous prosecution of violent crimes directed against that community. I also have no problem whatsoever with local ordinances which would allow same sex partners to register their partnerships to provide documentation for hospital visitation and insurance purposes as many corporations today provide benefits for the same sex partners of employees. But gay marriage and civil unions with the equivalent benefits of marriage (i.e., tax benefits) is simply going too far. We need to be focused on the stability of traditional families and strengthen the insitution of marriage - ending no-fault divorce laws which are so destructive to children and the family unit would be a step in the right direction.
Support for gay marriage by Democrats is political suicide in Middle America. The gay marriage battles which are being waged now in the courts and state legislatures will come to the forefront just in time for the 2008 election. To become a majority party again, Democratic elected officials and candidates would be well advised to start distancing themselves from the gay marriage debacle.