So will supporting a Federal Marriage Amendment help or hurt his re-election?

I’m not so naive as to believe everyone is so sad today, but I just wanted to get people’s opinions about whether or not you feel it will help or hurt his re-election bid?

I think it won’t help his re-election - it will turn off a lot of people who dislike discrimination.

What do you think?

I am registered to vote with no party affiliation (non-partisan.) I vote Demo, GOP and third party depending on who I like the best. My vote will go to Kerry specifically because of this. If it weren’t for this, I probably would have voted Libertarian. That’s enough with the personal anecdote.

Say what you will about Dean but he energized the Demo voting base. Because of him, more Demos will bother to vote that might not have. I think that the FMA will do something similar for Bush. His popularity was slipping amongst the hard core Pubbies and this will energize them. For all of the Indy votes that will go to Kerry (like mine) he will get more votes from Pubbies who might have sat this one out.


It’ll help.
Not that I approve: this is strictly an objective judgement of what gets out the vote. The Prez is facing a close election, and in a close election, what counts is getting the people on your side of the fence to get up and go to the polls.
So, it’ll help.

Though many here have made comparisons between the Civil Rights Movement and the specific issue of same-sex marriage, I think in the minds of many there is a clear distinction. As Bush himself has said, nobody is advocating the kind of civil rights abuses suffered by people of color prior to the 60s. As far as Bush and many are concerned, the way ought to be open for individual states to confer, as they see fit, some or all of the rights given to the married within that state via civil union laws. However, “activist judges” are trying to redefine Marriage (with a capitol M). Marriage is sacred. Its conventional structure is rooted in our common Judeo-Christian values, upon which this nation was built. It’s not about gays having or not having rights. It’s about what a marriage is, and what it isn’t. The courts should not redefine that for us from the bench. We the people should have a say.

I don’t prescribe to any of the above. I want nothing to do with it. All I’m saying is the above reads like the epitome of reason to many Americans. Most of them happen to be social conservatives who were already behind Bush. This will only solidfy their loyalty to him. They won’t see this as a diversionary tactic, meant to take some of the heat off of the Iraq debate. They will see this as the answer for the times.

People in the middle have a quandry to deal with: Maybe they support gay marriage, maybe they don’t. What they probably don’t like is social mores recoded by ill-defined jurisprudence. We’re still hashing out the details of Civil Rights (witness the heated ongoing debate over affirmative action, a swing-voter minefield if ever there was). Maybe for them the idea of amendment isn’t so bad: Better I or my elected representative gets a say, rather than some Judge in San Francisco or Boston. Maybe they don’t support Bush’s position, but at least it offers a path to clarity. I can’t say for certain what the guy on the fence will do at this point, but I’m not convinced Bush will necessarily lose swing votes because he back this amendment. Gay issues just aren’t that important to the average American. They won’t take the presidency away from somebody just because they don’t support gay marriage.

Then there’s Kerry’s “have it both ways” stance. Kerry doesn’t support same-sex marriage, so he says. He doesn’t support the amendment either. He supports state sovereignty on this one. Well, unfortunately Senator, it’s your home state that is pushing the evelope across state borders and making it a national issue. If MA fails to pass an amendment banning same-sex marriage, it’s forever legal in MA. Not civil union, marriage. So whatever Kerry supports or doesn’t, it’s rather moot now, isn’t it? What is Ohio (which has banned same-sex marriage) to do with an MA marriage license? What are the Feds to do with Social Security and federal income taxes? Before same-sex civil unions were defined. Now, in MA, there is only marriage. Does the IRS now have to do a “sex screen” on all our Soc. Sec. #'s? Great, Senator Kerry, you think it should be a state issue. How brave. You don’t like same-sex marriage. You say it’s for men and women only. But you don’t want bigotry coded into the US Constitution. Well, why not, if you’re against it? Are you one of the bigots or not?

Instant credibility problem for Kerry, if the repubs cast it this way. Kerry can spout “state rights” all he likes, it’s a past-tense issue now.

So, despite the wrongness of it all, it could very well help Bush, in the end, if you ask me.

Well, I’ve already noted that Kerry reminds me of no one more than he does Hubert Humphrey, who always wanted to be on both sides of a controversy also.
The Constitution clearly states the following:

Article IV:

"Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

“The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”

which of course means that a marriage license in one state has to be recognized in every other state.
Perfectly reasonable, easily defensible. Twenty years from now, it’ll be unquestioned except by the fringes of the far right. Kerry knows this, and he should show a little more courage.

I have been wondering if this whole issue hasn’t come up precisely to help re-elect Bush.
Republicans/Conservatives are by a large majority against Gay marriage and vehemently so.
Dems/liberals tend to be very mixed but no less vehement.
I can easily see some who feel so strongly about this issue voting for Bush when they might otherwise not, over this one issue.

It will probably help Bush, but I think it will eventually be detrimental to the Republican party.

Bush has single-handedly assured that it will be years before any gay individual votes Republican again. And have you seen the poll on gay marriage ammendments in which the responses are broken down by age? The only group that is not divided straight down the middle are young people, who are in opposed to the idea. cite

These people may not vote as often as their elders do at the moment, but they will one day, and they’ll remember this.

One of the dangers of trying to pursue this via the courts rather than via the electoral and legislative process is you get court decisions out ahead of public opinion, and you wind up pushing people towards political candidates you don’t like.

If this had gone gradually – civil unions in a couple of the progressive states, building up to civil unions in most of the states, followed by gay marriage in a couple of the progressive states, all accompanied by a progressive campaign (a la Dr. King) of making your case to the people and exposing the dark underbelly of your opposition – you’d never have had the backlash. But that tactic was not pursued. And this is probably the inevitable result of that. Gavin Newsom may have helped Bush get reelected.

Hopefully it will fry him and be a lesson to others to mind your own business.

Ah, yes, Dr. King, who caused so little backlash that he got himself shot.

Constitutional amendment backlash.
I’m afraid it is pretty much impossible to prevent head cases from attempting to shoot prominent people, be they Kings, Kennedys, Reagans or Wallaces. That is, without instituting a police state.

It will defintely help Bush. If there were any question on that matter he never would have come out with such a strong, controversial move. It helps Bush because it does two things.

First, it gives him a clearly defines position on the subject which resonates which about half of the population. The majority of people who do not agree with him on this point most likely would never have voted for him in November anyway, so he’s not losing anything. However, not every member of the half of the population which agrees with him voted last time. This is an issue which will probably get some of them to get off their butts and vote. And they’ll vote for Bush.

Second, neither Kerry nor Edwards will make a clear statement on this issue. Their both deadly afraid of alienating any swing voter, and so they will prevaricate as much as possible in order to try and not offend anyone. Of course, that in and of itsefl will only serve to confuse and alienate the voters.

I agree with schplebordnik, this was a change that needed to happen gradually. San Fransico derailed a movement that was already well on its way to getting gays and lesbians the protection they want and deserve. But by flagrantly acting against the established law of the state and illegally granting 3000+ marriage liscences before the law itself was changed, they’ve put the cart before the horse. And they played right into the hands of Bush and his conservatinve backers who can frighten the voters by saying this is all an attempt to overturn the moral, cultural, and legal traditions that have existed for millenia.

The Stonewall riot was a very important moment in the gay rights movement. But it wasn’t what changed people’s perceptions of homosexuals. Gay and lesbian people living normal lives and showing people who didn’t know any better that your sexuality has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a good person did.

Firstly, keep in mind that it was actions on the left that brought this to the forefront at this time. Bush would not have this issue to push if not for the situtations in CA and MA. I’m making a political point here, not a moral one. Bush would be a fool, politically, not to capitalize on this.

Sentiment was shifting more in favor of gay rights, but it’s hard to tell how much of a backlash there has been from the MA and CA situations. The DOMA passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and House, and something like 34 states have DOMAs. One could make a case that that translates into enough support to pass an amendment. Of course, an amendment is a whole 'nother thing in the minds of a lot of folks, so extrapolations might not work. Still, the evidence is there, for what it’s worth.

Bush is counting on this hurting the Dems as much as he’s counting on it helping him. I’ve seen estimates that 4M “religious conservatives” sat out the '00 election. I’m not sure if these represent real potential votes, or just the sum total of all the “religious conservative” who didn’t vote.

Then you have Kerry’s position. I saw an interview with him today that I’ll paraphrase:

K: I’m against gay marriage, but I don’t support this amendment.
Q: Why are you against gay marriage.
K: Because I don’t believe in it.
Q: But why don’t you believe in it.
K: Because I just don’t.

Say what you will about Bush, but at least people know where he stands and why. The damn already burst (a bit) in CA last week, but there will be a torrent let lose in MA in a few months. That will force people to consider an issue that most really never thought about in their wildest dreams. I wouldn’t count on them coming down on the side of gay marriage.

If it’s as close a race as many believe, this could tip the scales. And if you have Nader out there waving the gay marriage flag, he’ll draw off the one-issue voters from the Dems.

If there is a dramatic change in 1)Iraq, 2) the hunt for ObL, or 3) the state of the economy, the gay marriage issue will decline in significance. If things stay pretty much the same, then I do think it will be a factor.

How gradually do you need?

The first challenge in Hawaii happened over a decade ago (11-14 years, depending on which date you’re counting.) Quite frankly, progess on this issue has been near glacial. And now the dam is breaking.

One point I’ve read in blogs that seems reasonable to me is that one big factor in whether this issue helps or hurts Bush is whether he can keep the fringe radical elements of the Religious Right out of the spotlight. He can’t want a repeat of 1992, where Buchanan and other stepped into millions of American homes and arguably hurt his father’s reelection chances by making the party seem mean-spirited and narrow minded. It would be like if posters like jkim78 were to go public with statements like this and this and people assumed that he was representative of conservative posters on the SDMB. We would know it isn’t true, but the public image would be pretty hard hit.

Of course, what he stands for on this issue seems to contradict where he stands on other issues… nevermind the laughability of Bush complaining about activist judges.

There’s no question this will help him with the religious right, and that was the intent. Could it hurt him with other voters? I think that’s possible. Seems like things keep happening to energize the opposition.

It’ll give him a small boost – primarily from fence-sitters opposed to same-sex marriages – though I can’t imagine it helping a whole lot. It’ll also help drive the religious fundamentlist wing to turn out and vote on election day, but I suspect they would have voted for Bush anyway.

The real question is whether this move alienates enough fence-sitters to negate the effect…

It speaks to Bush/Rove’s confidence level that they feel they have to throw such an inflammatory bone to a constituency they should be able to take for granted. If the Bush campaign isn’t going to be about peace and prosperity but about Kerry’s fundraising and gay marriage, then it may be over for them already.

The rapid development of facts may well drive public perceptions almost as fast. We’ll likely have gay marriages on a legally-uncontested basis in Mass as of May 17, and, combined with SF and who knows where else by then, many thousands of happy couples who somehow won’t be making the sky fall. Depending on the poll, the public currently is about 50/50 on the subject, but the trend is clear and is more likely to accelerate than reverse.

My bet: It hurts him on net, but mainly just because he’s chosen it as a subject, not because of the position he’s taking on it.

I voted or Bush in 90 & have generally been supportive of him. Probably would have voted for him again but will not if he supports an ammendment banning gay marriage. Time to move forward.