WaPo predicts Maryland marriage this year

Timothy Kincaid

January 7th, 2011

From the Washington Post:

Miller has given his blessing to a committee realignment that all but ensures that a gay-marriage measure will make it to the Senate floor during this year’s session, which starts Wednesday – and presumably onto the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who pledged last year to sign it.

I have been frustrated with Maryland politics for years, but it does look like this year may be the year in which the Democratic Party in Maryland places equality for gay citizens as a higher priority than the religious beliefs of specific individual legislators. I will be delighted to joyously let bygones be bygones if they come through for our community.

My only complaint with the WaPo article is that they speak of “a coterie of moderate Democrats and vocal Republicans opposing any endorsement of gay rights.” But these opponents are not “moderate Democrats” at all and it is unfair to moderate Democrats around the nation to describe them thusly.

These Democrats aren’t “moderate” on any issues other than their opposition to equality under the law for gay people. They are liberal Democrats who, due to their religious adherence, hold deep animus to gay people and who use the position of authority to which they have been entrusted as a tool to harm gay men and women in their state. And there’s nothing “moderate” (or “liberal”) about that.

Interestingly, the Republican Minority Leader response is one that I often see championed in the comments at BTB. While he proposes a civil unions alternative, it doesn’t go as far as he would like in reducing marriage recognition for all:

“My goal is to have complete equality,” Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) said. In a sense.

If he had his druthers, Kittleman would do away with civil marriage altogether, he said, making it a purely religious institution. But that would have left straight couples high and dry vis-a-vis the federal government, which wouldn’t extend the benefits of marriage to those who are merely united civilly.

So he’ll opt that gay couples just be left high and dry instead. Yet he made comments that leave the possibility that Maryland may get bipartisan support when the marriage bill is passed.


January 7th, 2011

MD is a referendum state, so the big obstacle will be the inevitable ballot fight. All signs point to MD as the next big Prop 8-style battle. This should take place in 2012.

A May 2010 poll indicated support for marriage at 46-44. Despite the 2-point edge, this poll result points to a likely defeat with a margin comparable to that of Maine’s Question 1 (assuming of course that this result is accurate and continues to hold true through 2012).

I assume that the opposing forces will retain Frank Schubert Public Affairs and run a campaign similar to the ones in ME and CA. To have a chance at winning, we will need to take Schubert’s own sage advice and appeal to the voters’ selfish interests, and not merely rely on appeals to fairness or other high ideals.

The second thing that we absolutely must do is come up with a succinct and effective response to the completely bogus school curricula argument. We have had 2 passes at this and apparently failed both times.

Timothy Kincaid

January 7th, 2011


The more important number:

Among registered voters, 48 percent were in favor and 43 percent were opposed…

Still a difficult sell, but a bit better.

The second thing that we absolutely must do is come up with a succinct and effective response to the completely bogus school curricula argument.

My idea: work on the theme “your children will think you are a bigot.” Play up the way that they are embarrassed about the racism or sexism that their parents had in the 50’s and 60’s and tell them that their kids will be ashamed of them some day if they support anti-gay discrimination.

L. Junius Brutus

January 7th, 2011

“My idea: work on the theme “your children will think you are a bigot.” Play up the way that they are embarrassed about the racism or sexism that their parents had in the 50’s and 60’s and tell them that their kids will be ashamed of them some day if they support anti-gay discrimination.”

That only compounds the argument of the bigots. Just imagine:

Anti-marriage side:
“Schools will indoctrinate your children into believing that marriage can be between any two adults.”

Pro-marriage side:
“If you don’t vote NO, your children will one day be ashamed of you for supporting anti-gay discrimination.”

That only seems like an extra incentive for the other side to absolutely make sure that it is defeated.

L. Junius Brutus

January 7th, 2011

I also think that it’s inaccurate, as I even see gay and lesbian people justifying the bigotry of their friends and family members. How much more understandable will it seem to straight people? Furthermore, the ‘generational’ argument seems to be the only one used lately to argue for gay rights and the like, instead of substantive arguments. It seems that demoralizing the opposition is more of a priority than winning over swing voters.

While I don’t think I’m owed anything by anyone, I would also immediately cut ties with anyone who treated me like I’ve seen described by some people.


January 8th, 2011

I say they should make ads which show that some of those behind Question 1 in Maine had ties to the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda. At the end say, “Are these the kinds of people you want to associate with?”

I believe in Maine we would’ve likely prevailed had it not been for the fact that it was an off election year (why didn’t they wait until 2010 to pass marriage equality?).


January 9th, 2011

My idea for an appeal to voter self-interest is to do what was done in WA and what is being done right now in RI – push the economic benefits. In WA, our side didn’t just line up civil rights leaders and politicians, they also lined up all of the major WA employers, including Boeing and Microsoft. It shouldn’t be hard to get all of the major MD employers to line up, including many government contractors.

I certainly hope that our side focus groups your idea and my idea and others. That is the way that Frank Schubert came up with the schools theme.

I don’t think that we have been well served by the polling and research firm retained for both Prop 8 and Question 1, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. They made a boat load of money off of these 2 campaigns but it isn’t clear that we got much in return.

There was a failure of issue and theme identification and they produced at least one internal poll in ME that was wide off the mark. And they certainly failed to help either campaign focus group an effective response to the schools issue. If they get hired in MD or in a 2012 CA re-match, it won’t bode well.

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