It appears that the ban on same-sex marriage may fall short in one of the states where it was on the ballot yesterday. The latest returns show the ban in Arizona is trailing, with 48.6 voting in favor and “51.4 percent . . . voting against” Proposition 107, the “Protect Marriage Initiative.”
Referenda defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman passed across the country, including Wisconsin, a state where, I thought, it could be defeated. The proposal in Arizona was particularly pernicious, not only so defining marriage, but also barring “state and local governments from giving legal status to unmarried couples.” So extreme was this provision that it even would have barred universities and school districts from recognizing domestic partnerships. It’s my sense that it was that aspect of the initiative which sunk the proposal in the Grand Canyon State.
Simply put, the authors of the referendum overreached. As a result, Arizona beccame the first state to reject a ban on gay marriage in a popular referendum.
I don’t think this apparent victory means that opinion has shifted in favor of gay marriage. Instead, it suggests that there is a growing consensus in favor of civil unions, some kind of recognition of same-sex couples.
No wonder Jodi Rell, the Republican governor of Connecticut, who signed such a provision into law last year, handily won reelection last night.