There are times when the tactics of gay activists serve to push back the causes they espouse. Such has been the results of their attempts to push marriage through the courts. And there are times when the tactics of social conservatives push back the causes they espouse. With the proposed “Voters’ Right to Protect Marriage Initiative,” a group of social conservatives in California, led by “marriage protection expert” Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, is doing just that.
He has helped organized VoteYesMarriage.com to raise money and gather signatures to put this proposed state constitutional amendment on the 2006 ballot in the Golden State.
I fear that if he and his allies had proposed a state constitutional amendment which merely enshrined the definition of marriage in the state constitution, it would win as did the initiative adopting a statute defining marriage did five years ago. But, this time, they have tacked on an additional provision onto their proposed amendment which would prevent the state from “
California voters may not support gay marriage, but I believe they do support some sort of recognition of same-sex unions. The Advocate reports that coalition has formed to fight the amendment. If this coalition focuses on the sweeping nature of this amendment, that it not merely adds the traditional definition of marriage to the state constitution but also prevents any state recognition of same-sex unions, then they are sure to defeat it. And score a major victory for state recognition of same-sex unions.
The key to victory in this case is to get beyond the language activists have used in the past. If they talk about “marriage equality,” they risk turning victory into defeat. As we saw in fourteen states in the past year, such expressions don’t win the support of wavering voters, even in “blue” states.
Advocates must understand that five years ago, more than 60% of California voters favored a state law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We can’t defeat this by making it, as social conservatives would like, a referendum on marriage. The campaign has to become a referendum on this extreme proposal.
The goal is not to win debating points, but to defeat this amendment. And to do that, let me repeat, we have to focus on its sweeping nature. Should that be the focus of this coalition’s campaign, I would be glad to join in.
This time, we should be grateful for the extremism of gay-marriage opponents. Their zeal to prevent any state recognition of same-sex unions in one of the most socially liberal states in the union will almost certainly lead to the first state rejection of an initiative defining marriage.
As long as the leaders of the coalition to defeat this pernicious proposal understand that while they can’t win on the definition of marriage, we can defeat an amendment preventing recognition of same-sex unions. Let us hope that these activists have learned something from the election returns last fall.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com