Marriage equality wins! First, the good news, and it’s big: Voters
in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and (apparently, if narrowly) Washington State voted in favor of marriage equality, breaking a long, consistent losing streak in state referendums. That’s huge. (The votes in three of the states legalize or keep marriage for gay couples, while the Minnesota vote defeated an amendment banning same-sex marriage, which is not currently legal there.)
In Maryland, our friend Walter Olson deserves great praise for securing public endorsements from prominent conservatives for saving the Maryland law. His work is a template that others should follow.
Next up, the likely U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages that are recognized by the states. These victories help make the case that the time has come to stop prohibiting legal equality for gay couples (the Justices are not supposed to, but do, consider such things).
Obama’s Pyrrhic victory. I think James Taranto said it best: The Case for Obama: Re-election would ensure he is accountable for the mess he inherits from himself.
Defeat for pro-gay Republicans. The Human Rights Campaign, the once-nonpartisan and still largest LGBT political pac, helped defeat Log Cabin backed Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, one of the leading moderate and gay supportive Republicans, in favor of leftwing icon Elizabeth Warren. The worst fear of progressive LGBT Democrats is a Republican party that isn’t uniformly anti-gay.
Similarly, and sadly, in a closely watched Massachusetts congressional race, openly gay Republican Richard Tisei had a shot at making history—without the backing of HRC, naturally—but lost in a squeaker to an ethically challenged Democrat. And now, late word that Democrat Rep. Bob Filner has beaten openly gay Republican Councilman Carl DeMaio in the race for mayor of San Diego. LGBT progressive activists in the area worked overtime to defeat political apostate DeMaio. It’s what they do.
In Wisconsin, an open Senate seat was won by Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who is openly lesbian, over former governor and GOP moderate Tommy Thompson. While the election of an openly gay person to the U.S. Senate is to be lauded, Baldwin, alas, was one of the most leftwing members of the House and is likely to now be the most leftwing member of the Senate. This, and the overall nature of progressive LGBT activism, will further strengthen the identification of gay legal equality with an ideological agenda of crushingly bureaucratic regulation, growing government dependency and redistribution to favored political classes. Good news for the party of the left and its operatives; not so good for securing a firm foundation for gay Americans’ legal equality.
More. As in 2010, the religious right again cost the Republicans some Senate seats they were expected to easily win before extreme utterances came out of the mouths of their candidates. Last night, this was particularly evident in the case of Missouri Republican Todd Akin’s loss to unpopular Sen. Claire McCaskill (he of the infamous “legitimate rape” comment). Some are making the same argument about Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, whose poorly stated comments on all life being a gift from God despite rape were, to be fair, gleefully distorted by Democrats and the media.
Furthermore. I had previously blogged these links about pro-gay GOP House candidates Richard Tisei in Massachusetts and Nan Hayworth in New York, and Senate candidates Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Linda McMahon in Connecticut. None were supported by HRC, and all lost their races to progressive Democrats. As a result, the GOP will be even more anti-gay and thus provide plenty of fundraising fodder for HRC, which will lament the absence of pro-gay voices in the GOP, as they work to defeat pro-gay voices in the GOP, and send out more fundraising fodder….
Still more. As expected, lots of chortling from the Democrats’ loyal LGBT party operatives that Republicans are now irrelevant and to be consigned to the trash heap of history. Well, after all, Obama did win 50.4% of the popular vote. It’s the end of history—and the two-party system, because 50.4% seals the deal. No need to reform the GOP and promote pro-gay Republican candidates because the Democrats rule the day with their 50.4%, now and forever.
More still. Reader “Another Steve” responds to another commenter:
This issue is NOT whether the Democratic candidates were better than the GOP candidates [in the races mentioned], but whether the GOP candidates were moderates whose positions would help drive the GOP away from its hard anti-gay stance and toward at least a moderate view on gay issues. By refusing to support (or, in races like Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren), actively working to defeat moderate, relatively gay-supportive Republicans, LGBT activists have ensured that the GOP does not move forward. As Miller states, that’s good for HRC’s fundraising and for keeping gays tied to the Democratic party, but not good long-term when the country remains 50/50 split between Democrats and Republicans.