Contrary to what I take to be the conventional wisdom, I think the gay marriage issue will hurt President Bush and the Republicans in November. The news coverage on the issue is all about ecstatic gay couples who are finally being allowed to marry after years of discrimination. Virtually all of the news stories that I have seen have been pro-gay marriage puff pieces. The editorial commentary is well summed up by this vicious cartoon by Tom Toles of the Washington Post:
Of course this is absurdly unfair. But once an issue is couched in the language of civil rights, its outcome is no longer in doubt. We simply do not have a common political language in which to argue against any “civil right,” no matter how far-fetched, or to argue in favor of “discrimination.” Also, the whole phenomenon is spinning out of control. Thousands of gay couples have now been “married” in a varitety of jurisdictions, under a variety of legal circumstances. The facts on the ground are changing daily, in a way not favorable to those who want to stop the gay marriage train.
I suspect that the White House knows that this issue can only hurt them politically, but once the issue was forced by the Mayor of San Francisco and others on the left, the administration had little choice. Whether a constitutional amendment was the right choice is debatable; but any straightforward anti-gay marriage position was, I think, destined to be a political loser.
John Kerry’s position on the issue is, of course, contradictory and incoherent. But this is one issue on which I think incoherence and vacillation, combined with a liberal dose of pious platitudes, are exactly what most people want.
BIG TRUNK adds: I respectfully disagree with the political analysis here (except for the note taken of Kerry’s incoherent position), as I suggested in “Time for another tea party.” Kerry’s incoherence is in my view a function of his knowledge of the political untenability of supporting gay marriage as a civil right.
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