Gay Marriage & The GOP by Mitch E. Perry10/27/06
Gay Marriage was considered a major issue in the 2004 Presidential election, but it hasnâ€™t been much more than a blip when analyzing this yearâ€™s mid terms elections.
But that may change. Earlier this week, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided that gay couples are entitled to the same legal rights and financial benefits as heterosexual couples, though it stopped short of allowing same sex marriage.
Yesterday, President Bush put a spotlight on the issue in Iowa , even though itâ€™s not on the ballot there this year.(roll tape#1 o.q.â€?it must be defendedâ€?)
The New York Times reported today that this action could fire up the GOP base on the emotional issue. In Virginia on Thursday, Republican Senator George Allen attended a rally held by backers of a ballot initiative to ban gay marriage. Allenâ€™s campaign manager told the Times, â€œItâ€™s an issue thatâ€™s going to play a big role in the next 12 daysâ€?.
And the Reverend Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the Washington Post that the Pro-traditional-marriage organizations ought to give a distinguished service award to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Nadine Smith is Executive Director of the gay rights group, Equality Florida, calls the moves by conservatives acts of desperation, 10 days before the Mid Term Elections(roll tape#1 o.q.â€? tactic, anymoreâ€?)
In 2004, 11 different states had measures on their respective ballots banning same sex marriage â€“ all passed. This year, there are 8 more states that voters will decide. Organizers were hoping that Florida would have been a 9th, but they did not get qualify to get it on the ballot this year, though they promise to in 2008.
Tony Perkins, president of the Washington based Family Research Council, told the Washington Post, "I have to think there are Democratic strategists out there thinking the words of the old Japanese admiral: 'I fear all we've done is wake a sleeping giant,' "They were coasting into an election with a Republican base with dampened enthusiasm. This brings it all back home to the base, what this election is about."
But Nadine Smith from Equality Florida says that Massachusetts has said same sex marriage for several years now, and the fears that critics said initially simply have not come to pass. She says people are simply weary of the issue (roll tape#3 o.q.â€?to keep winningâ€?)
After same sex marriage was severely rejected by so many Americans in 2004, gay rights groups regrouped to fight for another day.
Earlier this month, the a group called Freedom To Marry sponsored a radio tour of teens and young adults with lesbian and gay parents to speak out in favor of allowing their parents to marry.
Dakota Fine is a teenager living in San Francisco with his 2 mothers. Heâ€™s with the Board of Directors with Collage, Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere. Fine says heâ€™s seen census figures that show that only 25% of American famlies are composed of a married mother and father, and believes that social construct doesnâ€™t really work anymore (roll tape#4 o.q.â€?parents sexualityâ€?)
Florida remains one of the very few states in the country that bans all types of gay adoption. However, both Gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist and Jim Davis have say they oppose such a ban. Although they both are against gay marriage, they do support civil unions for gays. But civil unions do not provide the same set of legal consequences.
18 year old Marina Gatto attends the University of California at Berkeley. She says banning her two mothers from marrying prevents her from receiving legal protections that all her friends enjoy (roll tape#5 o.q.â€?there are these inequalitiesâ€?)
Polls show that younger people do support the idea of same sex marriage than older generations Again, Marina Gatto (roll tape#6 o.q.â€?that is neededâ€?)
Getting back to gay marriage as a political issue. The New York Times reports, that one place where the New Jersey Court ruling is not expected to have much of a political impact is actually, New Jersey, a largely Democratic state that does not have a proposed gay marriage ban on the ballot. The GOP candidate for Senate, Tom Kean, has been distancing himself from his party throughout the campaign. A spokesman for his campaign says that wonâ€™t change at this point.