That was the main impulse behind the efforts in 11 states to amend their constitutions to ban same-sex marriage in 2004. Gay weddings had begun in Massachusetts in May, and conservative voters were determined to stop them in their tracks.
But it wasn’t the only impulse behind getting gay marriage on the ballots. Karl Rove, the “architect” of George W. Bush’s re-election campaign, figured gay marriage would bring evangelicals to the polls. Nowhere was this as important as Ohio, the most important swing state that year. And it worked. The anti-gay marriage initiative passed by over a million votes. Bush won Ohio by 118,775 votes. If it had gone the other way, John Kerry would have been president.
Nine years later, Rove and his establishment Republican buddies are trying to dig out of the hole they dug with their cynical culture war ploys. He wants the GOP to cozy up to Latinos, gays and young people, but the Palin wing refuses to go along. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
This month Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, came out in favor of same-sex marriage after being talked into it by his gay son. He’s not the only Ohioan who has changed his mind. As of a poll released this week, Buckeye State voters favor repealing the anti-gay marriage amendment 54 to 40 percent.
History, it turns out, doesn’t stop on the conservatives’ command. Politics can’t stop a changing culture.
Other thoughts on gay marriage in my column today.