For the past few weeks, I have been letting my e-mail accumulate, saving most of the bulk mailings that cluttered my box as they might have some blog-worthy tid-bit. As I read through them this afternoon, I kept coming across stuff from various gay sources about the likely fall ballot proposition to amend our state’s constitution to define marriage as it has long been defined (as the union of one man and one woman) as well as releases on the California Supreme Court’s decision redefining that institution to include same-sex unions.
Before that decision, I thought the initiative had a 50-50 chance of passing. With the decision, I think the odds have increased for those who favor amending the constitution. And if the gay groups who sent out those e-mails have anything to do with the “No” campaign, the odds with increase even further.
Take a gander at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s (NGLTF) April 24 press release. It calls the petition drive a “mean-spirited attack.” If they think it’s mean-spirited, they have little understanding of their opposition on this issue. Yeah, there are some mean-spirited voices in the anti-gay marriage crowd, notably Randy Thomasson of VoteYesMarriage.com, but his group failed to gather enough signatures for a proposal which would have overturned the state’s domestic partnership program as well as limited marriage to different-sex couples.
Advocates of gay marriage must not forget that while the state may recognize gay marriage during the course of the campaign, they’re the ones pushing to change the way American jurisdictions, indeed world political institutions, have defined marriage for as long as they have recognized the institution. As I wrote before, the burden is on those proposing the change.
They need to recognize that most Californians who oppose gay marriage don’t do so out of bigotry or hatred but because they see insitution as the union of two individuals of different genders. Those who organize the campaign to defeat this proposition won’t get much mileage if they campaign against social conservatives. That may win them accolades in San Francisco, West Hollywood, San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood and on university campuses, but it won’t win them votes in cities like Fresno and Bakersfield and the suburbs of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.