Fight Over Gay Marriage? Not This Time

Washington Matters

Fight Over Gay Marriage? Not This Time



There are two reasons why gay marriage won't be an issue this year. The first is that there's little daylight between the views of John McCain and Barack Obama. Both are opposed to gay marriage, although they disagree on civil unions, with Obama supporting them and McCain opposing them. There was considerably more controversy four years ago, when the supreme court in Massachusetts, the home state of Democrat John Kerry, made gay marriages in that state legal, handing George W. Bush a bludgeon to use against his opponent. Bush immediately proposed a constitutional amendment, which Kerry opposed, arguing it should be left up to the states to decide, even as he said he didn't personally back gay marriages.

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The second reason is that American attitudes have mellowed. Less than half of those surveyed this month by Pew Research were opposed to gay marriage (49%), down from 56% four years ago. The number in favor of it grew from 32% in 2004 to 38% today. And a majority of those surveyed (51% to 41%) support civil unions. What's more, the poll showed that while Republicans and Evangelical Protestants still view gay marriage as an important issue, most other voters don't plan to pay much attention to it this year.