For the record, I voted FOR Bush, and AGAINST Culture War!

It's no longer news that voters in eleven states -- Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah -- voted to pass initiatives to prohibit same sex marriage.

As Glenn Reynolds and others make abundantly clear, a lot of pundits are already saying that these ballot initiatives put Bush into office for a second term. Some argue that it was part of a plot:

As many other have already noted, Rove and Co. cleverly managed to get anti-gay marriage initiatives and referenda on the ballot in a number of key swing states. And that seems to have played an key role in mobilizing 'peripheral' evangelical and culturally conservative voters.
I disagree.

While I haven't done detailed research, common sense would suggest to me that the initiatives can't have helped Bush in states which would have given him their electoral votes anyway. Is anyone seriously suggesting that Kerry would have won in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah? (All these states were won by Bush in the closer 2000 race.) Kerry did win Oregon and Michigan, notwithstanding the initiatives. (Moreover, Gore's 2000 Oregon victory margin was smaller than Kerry's.)

That leaves Ohio. It went to Bush in 2000, and while it went to Bush again, it was a closer fight this year than in 2000. The fact that more Ohioans voted for the marriage initiative than for either Bush or Kerry suggests that this issue has its own momentum totally apart from Bush.

Similar initiatives were passed earlier in the year by voters in Louisiana and Missouri. Bush won those states too, but would the numbers have been much different had they been on the November ballot? Considering Kerry's statement that he and and Bush had "the same position, fundamentally" on gay marriage, I don't see how. While it's more of a Bush issue than a Kerry issue (because of Bush's support for the FMA), both candidates downplayed it during the campaign.

In short, I see no evidence that Bush won a single state which he wouldn't have won had there not been a single gay marriage initiative.

This is not to say that the gay marriage issue hasn't produced a backlash. I just fail to see how it re-elected Bush.

NOTE: I have discussed the backlash issue regarding gay rights, and the win-or-lose nature of these "Culture War" arguments many times. I have expressed reservations that same sex marriage might become involuntary. The issue is certainly a contentious one, but no matter what happens I don't think any of it is worth another civil war.

UPDATE: Via Glenn Reynolds, I was drawn to this comment left at Belmont Club:

If Kerry had won, the war would undoubtedly be repudiated in the press everywhere. But now that Bush has won, it has been decided that he won on other issues like gay marriage and abortion. Behind this is a cynical determination among those on the left to deny the President a mandate for the war. And it is a desperate effort to avoid facing up to the broad support of the American public for the war.
Divide and conquer is a time-honored technique of the left. Bear in mind that much of the current-day lifestyle acrimony that we call the "Culture War" dates back to the Vietnam War -- where it was encouraged and cultivated by cynical antiwar activists with a bigger agenda....

[That last update was posted twice, as I think the point is worth repeating, and applies to both of these posts.]

UPDATE (11/06/04): Via Glenn Reynolds, I see that Andrew Sullivan has posted statistics which demonstrate quite conclusively that Bush's numbers were no appreciably different in states with the no-gay-marriage initiatives than in states without them. Ditto the Ashbrook Center, which adds this interesting tidbit:

....the counter-mobilization against these amendments is at least as large a part of the Kerry coalition as mobilizing on their behalf is part of Bush’s. Four of the twelve states in which Kerry improved the most over Gore had gay marriage initiatives on the ballot, whereas only two of Bush’s top twelve had them.
The argument that Bush owes his election to these initiatives is all hype, but no substance. (The problem is, it greatly appeals to ideologues at each end of what passes for the "spectrum" of American politics.)

posted by Eric on 11.04.04 at 08:02 PM


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» Oh good lord from SayUncle
I hope some factions of the wacky left get the sand out of their collective vagina so that we can get back to discussing the issues a bit more politely and seriously. After all, 30% of the homo haters voted for Kerry. When will the Democrats get ... [Read More]
Tracked on November 5, 2004 10:04 AM


You seem to have gotten over those doubts about self-quoting pretty thoroughly, there, dude.

Sean Kinsell   ·  November 4, 2004 10:15 PM

Excellent point that refutes hysterical stories being thrown around. As a homo, it's depressing to see so many (the majority) of gays incapable of making intelligent analyses of such things without resorting to ad hominems & absurdities

jeff   ·  November 4, 2004 10:43 PM

As I've said, I'm not into fisking the Left as though they were a subversive threat of any kind, but only in order to brush aside their weak arguments and shallow fallacies that get in the way of deep thinking about the real issues. As usual, they get it backwards, thinking that the anti-homosexual drive was a means to get Bush elected, in other words, their usual Marxist fallacy of thinking that the moral is merely a tool of the political and economic.

It's the other way around. The anti-homosexual movement, the Enemy Within, was using Bush as a tool to acheive their ends. Bush himself is not an enemy of homosexuals, I do not believe, but he believed that he had to obey the Enemy. He obeyed them up to a point, but removed himself from them to a significant enough degree toward the close of the campaign.

Contrary to the rhetoric of Leftist "moonbats", Bush is far from being a Hitler or even an Eichmann. He is merely a Hindenberg. America's totalitarian movement, while it has its Jews, i.e., homosexuals, does not have a single Fuhrer, but rather a number of Fuhrers, e.g., Lou Sheldon, Robert Knight, Tony Perkins, etc.. It operates, not as a single visible political party, such as were the Nazi party or the Communist party, but as a seemingly inchoate, shadowy movement consisting of hundreds of organizations, usually bearing the name "family" something-or-other, which infiltrate the already long-existing Republican party, ironically, the party of Lincoln. In this way, they resemble the shadowy terrorist cells of the Enemy without.

They are superlatively clever. And a large part of their cleverness consists of getting their opponents to dismiss them as ignorant "rubes". It is they who have manufactured the anti-homosexual "backlash".

I don't think this election was won or lost on gay issues, sorry. There, doubtless, was a portion of the electorate who went to the polls to defeat gay marriage. But they were a small, unimportant (and unappealing) minority.

Yes, all the amendments were defeated. Has it occurred to anyone that because this election had the largest turn out in history, it got a lot of people who'd never given a thought to gay marriage and, when confronted with the amendment went "sheeeeet, they want to marry now? No." I mean, a bunch of the amendments in our area I'd given no thought to, were voted on -- by me -- in the same reflex manner. Basically, anything that would cost me money got a "no." And then some that wouldn't got a "no" too because the other amendements were such bad ideas I was taking no chances on the inocuous seeming ones. (No, gay marriage was not in my area ballot.)

I think this election was about 9/11 and the war.

This said, I think the position both sides ended up taking "civil unions but no marriage" is a very liberal position. Really. Think on it for a moment. Put on your conservative acts and think about it -- instead of knee jerking.

Despite Pat Buchanan's and co.'s belief that if gay marriage were allowed I would HAVE to leave husband and kids to marry my female buddy (if they don't believe that, why do they think it threatens hetero marriage?) the truth is gay marriage would simply render marriage the uniform expectation of society. Regardless of what he/she chose to do when he/she grew up each child would grow up with the expectation of getting married one day. They would be surrounded by married couples of various persuasions and this would be the "expected" outcome.

OTOH a society with civil unions is very different. I think legally they can't keep civil unions for gay couples only -- so many constitutional pitfalls -- so, there would be this "like marriage as far as the conveniences of marriage go but without the weight of tradition and family expectations" route available to every kid.

Anyone want to take a bet that in our divorce-crazy, insecure world civil unions would become the route of choice for young couples? Anyone want to take a bet that marriage would die within a decade?

Is this good or bad?

My political opinions are multi-fractured because I think about each issue instead of swallowing a party line. In marriage I'm a conservative. I realize this is shaped by my experience, being happilly married, but I think it is worth it and a path of growth and while I don't impose it on anyone I think lots of people can benefit from it.

I want it to be available and encouraged when my kids come of age, whatever orientation they turn out to have. Which is why I think both parties are wrong on the civil union thing. And I think true conservatives would be voting FOR gay marriage.

Just my two cents.

Portia   ·  November 5, 2004 10:46 AM

I should add that I find the issue of "common law marriage" creepy. It is, as you pointed out, coercive. This applies in heterosexual cases too.

If marriage is to mean anything -- and you're right about its being religious. Even for non believers, marriage means you must at the very least believe in concepts such as "honor" and "your word" which can be fluid -- it means you gave your word to someone else and agreed to become a linked entity. I was very aware of this, which is why I stayed away from it for very long and only married when I felt I wanted to be part of that joint entity. It worked out for me, as I've said, but I have great respect for friends who say "I'll try to make it work; I gave my word" -- I often think they need their heads examined, but I respect them nonethless. I BELIEVE in individual responsibility and individual contracts.

And -- btw -- common law marriage crossed with gay marriage could get incredibly interesting. Suppose I become -- forfend -- widowed tomorrow and so does one of my best female friends (our husbands get caught in a freak rain of fish or something) and for convenience of jobs and kid raising we move in together into my house.

Ten years from now, all kids are out of the house and I want to move out and get a small condo. Let's suppose she hasn't prospered at her job, and I have. What's to stop her from seeking alimony? Can I prove there was no sexual relationship? I tend to (shoulder, hand) touch and hug friends I'm comfortable with. In NC TODAY being behind locked doors alone together can serve as proof of "adultery" in a male-female relationship. Would the same apply to homosexual relationships?

Yes, big can of worms, and it needs to be fixed, for heterosexual couples too. It should not be possible to get married against one's will. People get married waaaayyyy too much and too lightly and part of it is knowing this will be legally assumed anyway. Marriage should only happen if you feel you "want and have" to. It will happen to some of us, not nearly all.

This said -- between marriage and civil unions, go marriage! (Wanna bet they extend the law to "common law civil union" too, if they grant those?) Civil unions are the same but wimpier...

Portia   ·  November 5, 2004 11:03 AM

As Michael Totten has noted over at his site, Oregon went heavily for Kerry AND an anti-gay marriage issue. Make of that what you wish.

One curious thing - here in SW Ohio (Cincinnati, which leans quite Rep.), I don't remember one TV or radio ad from either side on the anti-gay marriage issue on our ballot. It was almost as though you walked into the booth, and POOF! there it was on the ballot. Wouldn't you think if W and his troops were counting on that issue to save the day, we would have been inundated with "save marriage" ads? I'm wondering what the ads were like in other areas/states.

kellymo   ·  November 5, 2004 3:57 PM


Excellent. I have been saying that for a long time, as have Jonathan Rauch and Andrew Sullivan. This is the spectrum of it as I see it:

Marriage, with all that it entails, commitment and fidelity, permanence and exclusivity, as well as conjugal rights or privileges, is intrinsically conservative. Holy Dawn and her holy Negro wife Norma -- bound in eternal holy wedlock, the Divine Sacrament of Total Commitment Marriage, Tight and High.

Civil unions (or "domestic partnerships", "domestic partnership-related program activities", etc.), or "marriage-lite", all or most of the conveniences but none or little of the obligations of marriage, is liberal.

The MOST liberal or libertine position is no legal or moral ties at all, the promiscuity of the orgy or the bathhouse, which is what the anti-marriage so-called "conservatives" are relegating homosexuals to -- and then they complain about promiscuity. Wicked Wanda and her women (Wendy, Cindy, Sandy, Candy, Brandy, Brenda, Glenda, Stella, Hannah...) in non-stop free-wheeling wild scientific orgies. No God, no law.

The most radical, Communist position is to eradicate homosexuality and all other "deviant" behaviors and thoughts in order to bring about a collectivist utopia where everybody is the same as everybody else. Mauhatt, Rev. Becker, Mrs. Haight. I'm against that!

The left is so bent on the "divide and conquer" idea that they are always creating divisions among themselves lol. Really funny to see it in motion.

Miguel   ·  November 6, 2004 3:01 AM

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