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Friday, August 06, 2004

Hate Amendment on the Ballot in Several Swing States

Posted by DavidNYC

As you may know, the state of Missouri voted this week to amend its state constitution to explicitly prohibit gay marriage. (I'm personally of the opinion that these kinds of laws will ultimately run afoul of the federal Constitution's full faith and credit clause, particularly as it relates to the issue of gay divorce - but that's neither here nor there for the purposes of this blog.) What's especially distressing - beyond the actual vote - is the fact that turnout was up dramatically. Considering this was an August primary, I'm amazed that 41% of voters came out (when the usual range is 15% to 25%).

This becomes a real problem because similar measures are on the ballot in other swing states this fall: Arkansas, Michigan, Oregon and, yes, Ohio. Everyone expects the vote in Ohio to be especially close this year. I'll be beside myself if we lose that state because hatred and fear drive record numbers of voters to the polls to vote for an abomination of an amendment - and pull the lever for George Bush while they're at it. The Missouri turnout is really troubling. This whole thing could wind up being a big sleeper issue for the GOP.

Posted at 12:15 AM in General | Technorati


These are two separate issues. But you're correct, the Republicans are using fear as a campaign ploy, whether it be terrorist attack warnings or gay marriage. I hope Kerry and Edwards speak directly to this issue out on the stump and expose the Republicans for what they really are; fear mongers. The Republicans have nothing to run on, so they try to use fear in their favor.

Posted by: Shar at August 5, 2004 11:23 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

There were 750+thousand democrats that voted and 600+thousand republicans that voted in this primary. It failed 2 to 1. Blacks no matter how progressive as a culture seem to really take offense to gay marriage. I tried to ram home that I live in a secular society that should protect all points of view. This does not force any church to marry anyone. What has a greater chance to harm you and your family a concealed weapon or two gays having gay sex in their home? As a state we are conservative and apparently as democrats here we are not as tolerant as I had hoped.

Posted by: kyle hunter at August 5, 2004 11:49 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I knew this was the sleeper issue of the election, and it looks like it's about to awaken from its summer slumber. This issue scares the hell out of my friends and me, especially after reading how it impacted a pivotal swing state, Missouri.

I read with much dismay about the ramifications of what happened in the Show Me State in today's New York Times. Over 71% of Missouri voters voted in favor of enshrining discrimination against gays in their state constitution. It passed in every county except St. Louis', and even there it was a virtual tie.

This does not make things easier for us in several key (and largely or leaning conservative) swing states, including, as David pointed out, Ohio and Arkansas. I also read that this might possibly on the Michigan ballot as well, but will that be after the elections? I hope so!

Kerry and Edwards will definitely have no choice but to deal with this, as you can bet that the Republicans will make this a major issue at their convention and in the debates that will follow. Oy!

That said, they will have time to prepare for it and speak out against hate and discrimination of a large group of Americans, just because of their sexual orientation. Kerry and Edwards must make it clear that fear and hate are not the American way, and that gays are not out to destroy traditional marriage or families. They must remind Americans that our country is about freedom for all people. This angers me so much, but even more than that it makes me extremely sad that such hatred and intolerance is not only alive and well, but embraced by the Republican party.

Posted by: Pepe at August 5, 2004 11:52 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

As a state we are conservative and apparently as democrats here we are not as tolerant as I had hoped.

Kyle, as I have stated on other threads, the South (and I do consider MO to be a Southern State) is largely Republican due to the "values" card. Values trump just about everything here, including Iraq and our wallets. That said, even our Democrats are, for the most part, cut from a different cloth from the Democrats in the New England. If the rest of the country does not yet know this, the gay marriage issue may make that unequivocally clear in the weeks ahead.

There are bright spots in the South. I live in one of them, in North Carolina's Triangle. Right now I feel like I live in a blue Democratic oasis of liberal attitudes surrounded by a vast red Republican desert. Sigh! :~(

Posted by: Pepe at August 6, 2004 12:04 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

To be honest, I think the high primary turnout was as much due to a heavily contested Governor's primary (Holden versus McCaskill) as it was due to the Amendment.

Posted by: Keith Brekhus at August 6, 2004 12:55 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Turnout could als0o have been high because the primary for Gov weas very competive and Holden was strongly disliked.

Posted by: Lavoisier1794 at August 6, 2004 12:58 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Keith & Lav, I'm not sure the numbers support that theory. Some 850,000 people voted in the Dem primary, which was closely contested.

However, a whopping 600,000 people voted in the virtually uncontested GOP primary. Blunt won with an extraordinary 88% of the vote. I can't imagine that GOP voters felt much pressure to turn out in support of Blunt - no one thought the race would be seriously contested.

Which brings us to the hate amendment. Over 1.49 million people voted on the question - 40,000 more than the total number of people who voted in the various gubernatorial primaries. I have a strong feeling that a lot of the people who bothered to vote in the GOP primary really showed up primarily to vote for this amendment. I mean, it just wasn't worth their time to cast a vote for Blunt, but I think these people wanted to send a message about the amendment.

Posted by: DavidNYC at August 6, 2004 01:15 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Don't worry about a thing; this issue is dead as far as transference to Presidential candidates goes. Think it through. If you support it enthusiastically, you're already voting for Bush. If you are less than enthusiastic--say, you have a gay son or daughter, and you don't want to see them married, but also feel bad for the hardships they face, you may vote for it; but you sure aren't necessarily going to have good feelings about the bastard who's forcing this issue down your throat so improprietously. And if you're gay, les, bi, or tg, or really love anyone who is, forget it, you're never voting for this or any Republican, and will probably give money to fight these morons. This issue consolidates existing support but adds none. It picks up no votes, and actually loses many.

Posted by: joseph at August 6, 2004 02:18 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I do not see how Kerry and Edwards can possibly oppose such "defense-of-marriage" actions in the various states. Kerry disagreed with the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that required the commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriage. He opposed the federal marriage amendment but said it should be left for the states to decide how to define marriage. Also, history shows that federal courts have allowed states to withhold recognition of marriages that are allowed by other states. Kerry has not argued against this, and it would hurt him a lot if he did. Remember, Clinton tried to overturn the military's ban on homosexuals early in his first term, and had to retreat.

This is not Kerry's issue, but Bush wants it to be his. It will work against Kerry in the states that have anti-gay issues on the ballot this November, but all he can do is try to get his supporters to the polls based on other issues. One can only hope that most of the people who oppose the idea of same-sex marriage are not going to be strongly motivated by the issue or be hostile to Kerry on account of it. Also, the minority who strongly favor gay marriage are going to be strongly motivated to vote against Bush, even if Kerry is not quite on their side, either.

Posted by: Jerome at August 6, 2004 02:30 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Latest NH poll: Granite State rock hard for Kerry

Posted by: joseph at August 6, 2004 03:30 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Just so you know, not everyone who is gay, lesiban, or otherwise classified is in line on the gay marriage issue. I haven't seen a single poll on the topic, but I for one personally know of a handfull of gays who are for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. You'd love to make it so simple, but it's not.

Posted by: danheskett at August 6, 2004 08:45 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


I second that! I have probably too many gay friends and collegues. Most are much more complicated than this one issue. Many are using it as an issue to guide their decision, but it is not "the" issue for which they are basing their vote. The gay community is just as concerned about terrorism and the economy as anyone else. It they are still torn between Bush and Kerry, the marriage thing (usually) tips the scale in Kerry's favor. If they are more worried about a building blowing up, then Bush still gets their vote, marriage or not. If they are worried about having a job, Kerry's there guy, marriage or not.


Posted by: Jason-Charlotte at August 6, 2004 11:07 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

this issue is dead as far as transference to Presidential candidates goes

I disagree. I think there are two kinds of people: The kind of people who will come out to vote for George Bush no matter what, and the kind of people who aren't that excited about George Bush, but are keenly interested in voting to ban gay marriage. Those people might show up at the polls for the gay marriage issue, and then decide to cast a vote for Bush as well. These are people who might otherwise stay at home on election day, if the gay marriage amendment were not on the ballot.

Just so you know, not everyone who is gay, lesiban, or otherwise classified is in line on the gay marriage issue.

As it happens, I never said anything remotely in the realm of this point. In any event, the issue is simple - for me. But as I said in the post - and as is generally my policy here - I don't discuss the merits of policies, just their effect on politics.

And to Jason: Again I say, I never mentioned the voting habits or interests of gay & lesbian Americans. I only discussed turnout amongst those who oppose the amendment - who, hell, themselves might be gay, but that doesn't interest me. What matters to me is whether these amendments will drive up turnout for Bush. I don't care who is pulling the lever, gay or straight.

Posted by: DavidNYC at August 6, 2004 11:11 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Latest Michigan: Wolverine State howling for Kerry

Posted by: joseph at August 6, 2004 05:59 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

A few people are missing the point. The worry about gay marriage ballot measures is that they will attract conservative voters to the polls, the result of which will be more votes ofr Bush. Anyone with any sense can see that it is to the advantage of Bush to have these measures on ballots. Tragically, our best hope if there are many of these is that they poll numbers regarding them make voting for them seem otiose because they are certain to pass.

(BTW, nice point in the original post about full- faith and credit and divorce law. I haven't seen it before and it gives one pause.)

Posted by: Lenhart at August 6, 2004 06:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The worry about gay marriage ballot measures is that they will attract conservative voters to the polls, the result of which will be more votes [for] Bush.

This is exactly right - and in fact, this is why the Missouri Dems wanted to get the issue on the August ballot, rather than the November one.

As for FF&C: Marriages are not considered to be "judicial proceedings," which is what the FF&C clause covers. Rather, they are licenses, and states could probably (from a legal point of view) ignore licenses granted in other states pretty easily. (Politically is a different story: Imagine if NJ stopped honoring NY driver's licenses.)

But a divorce is most definitely a judicial proceeding - its status as such has even been enshrined in popular culture (see, eg, Kramer v. Kramer). If a state court in Mass. grants a divorce to a gay couple, I don't see how Missouri (or AK, or HI, etc.) can ignore that ruling. It's not as simple as saying, "Well, Missouri thinks there was no marriage in the first place, so the divorce doesn't matter." That's because property and custody matters are often settled in divorces - so would MO refuse to enforce a custody agreement made by a divorcing gay couple in Mass.? That is a recipe for a judicial nightmare.

People far wiser than me have observed that gay marriage is going to happen, whether people want it or not, because it has to happen.

Posted by: DavidNYC at August 6, 2004 07:08 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just wanted to say that this is a great site and very important, I've added a link to it on my blog -- keep up the good work.

Posted by: Sean at August 7, 2004 11:09 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I also believe that acceptance of same-sex relationships (including child rearing) will
eventually come to pass, but not until after a lot of unnecessary misery. The saddest example
that I know is the two southern teenage lesbians who just killed the grandparents of one because of their unyielding hostility to the girls'
relationship This, at the same time when Cheney & Gephardt have daughters who are lesbians. When
are the religious bigots going to take off their
blinders? Should we tear down the Sistine Chapel
because Michelangelo was a homosexual, while we
turn a blind eye to Strom Thurmond's hypocrisy
and the many extramarital relationships of GOP
politicians that have come to light since they
tried to pillory Bill Clinton?

Well, Massachusetts (which has matured from
burning witches to sanctifying same-sex marriages) is no longer quite alone. In late July or early August, a judge in Washington
State ruled that denying equivalent marital rights to members of the same sex is in violation of the "equal protection" law of the
U.S. Constitution. The final outcome of the case
probably won't be known before the November
presidential election; in any event, it will be
a high-profile issue in that state as well.

Fifty years ago, I considered the Methodist ministry during college (I took formal studies in both biblical interpretation & comparative religion) but chucked it following increasingly heated theological arguments with a "hell and
brimstone," fundamentalist Christian from the South. He had a completely closed mind on many issues, based on a flawed or unsupportable biblical interpretation of rather ambiguous
texts. It wasn't "my Christianity" and what I had once thought to be beautiful became hating and hateful. [I have been heterosexual since puberty but may have some bisexual tendencies I
have two grown children in their thirties and an
eight-year old grandson. I fit the profile of the
"acceptable family man."

In any event, sex wasn't the principal issue that estranged me from orthodoxy and ultimately led me to atheism by age 35. That journey was a long process which I won't go into now.

When I studied "Old and New Testament[s]," I came to believe that "St." Paul was responsible for the bulk of intolerance on sexual issues. Showing his sexual diffidence if not fear of and/or distaste for sex, even he said that "it's better to marry than to burn." Do we now make an exception for gay couples ? What about Roman Catholic priests who've become pedophiles ?

Christians who know little of the Old Testament have probably heard of "Sodom and Gomorrah" but they forget that, after God killed
all the men (and turned Lot's wife into a pillar
of salt), Lot's daughters got him drunk and
crawled into the sack with him. [They should read "Lot's Wife" by Howard Fast, which I lifted from the library when I was in the army.]

Increasingly, it seems to me that those men and women (many more of the former, I suspect) who are most intolerant of gay relationships are
really very insecure in their own sexual identity and/or worried that members of the
opposite sex may come to be more fond of their own. Or perhaps they are fearful to think of a
God who made same-sex experiences pleasurable!

Everyone, especially "maccho men" should be
required to watch a recent PBS documentary on the
Spartans, whose very name conjures up pictures of
athletic men who are skilled in the martial arts.
What they didn't teach us in school is that the
men and women, even those who were married, lived
separately ... with other members of the same sex. While the married man might come to his wife
occasionally to "knock one off" and assure
procreation of future soldiers (I can't say
"cannon fodder" because they hadn't yet been
invented), he'd return later to be with "the guys
in the barracks." Theoretically, the sexes were
kept apart to promote rigid adherence to the
strict regimen of body-building that was needed
to develop strong, muscular warriors. But there
is a suspicious note: each adult male was assigned as a mentor to a (pre?)pubescent lad.
It sounds like they may have been "bunkmates."
In any event, it was reportedly customary for
both sexes to have bisexual relationships.
I guess all of the children were raised by women,
except when a man took a young lad "in hand" ... and to bed.

Posted by: Harold Juhre at August 7, 2004 02:08 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It sure is a shame that people have been so conditioned to be worried about being called homophobic, fearful or full of hate. Might the basis of this fear be that people which are so inclined to participate in whatever sexual fantasies they see fit, then try to ram it down the throat of society deserve to be feared. (No pun intended)
People that are watching this society���s values get chipped away faster and faster by self centered egotists that will eventually legislate their immorality into our lives do have many things to fear.
They have to listen to how we are loosing our freedoms? What freedoms we are loosing are never actually mentioned. Ahh, it must be the freedoms like: being allowed to spout sexual perversions at our elementary students. The freedom to have sex with 13 year old children? Maybe the freedom to have 90% of the programming on television about violence, crime or sex. Possibly it���s the freedom to run around naked in the streets, which has become legal in many states. It must be the freedom to download pornography from the Internet, even if you are a child. Oh, let���s not forget the freedom to become a drug addict and endanger as many lives as we possibly can, that���s another lost freedom, right?
It���s no wonder having these freedoms that many sick individuals feel they can���t live without are having their intended effect. Over the passed 50 years, since this, me first mentality started, we have seen constantly increasing crime rates, drug use, cases of sexually transmitted diseases, degradation of all our communications media, reduction in the effectiveness of our educational system, etc. etc.
But lets not let the facts get in the way, we should just sit back and let these folks with all the answers find a way to further destroy the sanctity of marriage and family. Well, why not, if all this immorality has been so successful over the past 50 years, let���s just push it further and faster!

Posted by: JackFL at August 25, 2004 09:32 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Here is a great article about the subject:


Posted by: Chris at September 7, 2004 09:36 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Here is a great article about the subject:


Posted by: Chris at September 7, 2004 09:37 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I should have included my e-mail address
with the comments I posted on August 7;
here it is. I'm surprised that only one
comment has been posted here (on Aug. 25) and makes no reference to my comments. [When I have time, I'd like to respond to the latter, posted by JackFL.]

Since I wrote almost two months ago, I've been unable to find any reference to Howard Fast's "Lot's Wife" even in a list (accessed via Google) that purports to be a complete bibliography of Fast's writings. Any help would be appreciated. (9/23/04)

Posted by: Harold Juhre at September 23, 2004 08:23 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment