It might not hurt much, but it sure as Hades won’t help the movement. Luckily for the pro gay marriage side, they’re not very famous poster women. Not many people remember Julie and Hillary. (I had actually forgotten about them and didn’t even know they had separated untill I read this thread.)
However, it’s still a bad thing for the movement. One of the arguments (and please don’t think it’s my position) against gay marriage is that homosexuals, especially gay males, are far more promiscuous than heterosexuals. This makes them less able to form lasting bonds. Therefore, if even the poster couple for the pro-gay marriage side can’t make it work, the anti-gay marriage side can use it as evidence for their argument that homosexuals. It’s all about the perception, or stereotyping if you prefer, of gay sexual habits.
And in any public debate, from the Iraq War to illegal immigration to local city council elections, people rely more on their perceptions than they do facts. It’s sad but true. “Poster figures” are an effective means to sway public opinion, even if those figures don’t mean a damn thing. Additionally, when they fall the backlash (which is what kjckjc is asking about) can have real impact.
Remember Cindy Sheehan? Great Poster Woman for the anti-war side… until she started getting chummy with the likes of Chavez and calling Bush a “terrorist”. For this reason the anti-war movement has distanced itself from her. But I’d still wager that that change in perception of the American people regarding Mrs. Sheehan increased support for the war.
So, to sum up: Julie and Hillary separating is a bad thing for the movement, but luckily for the movement, very few people noticed that they seperated, or even remember who the were in the first place.