Take the battle for gay marriage in two deep blue states: Maryland and Rhode Island.
Getting a gay marriage bill through the Rhode Island House of Representatives with Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s support and a new openly gay House speaker was supposed to be a cakewalk. Instead, as The Boston Phoenix (an alternative paper) reports: “The end game is proving trickier than advocates had hoped. … They’ve been caught off guard by the prowess of the church, which has joined with the nation’s leading anti-gay marriage group to mount a surprisingly potent defense of the status quo.” (By “anti-gay group” they mean theNational Organization for Marriage, which I chair). Speaker Gordon Fox suddenly pulled the bill, and its future is now uncertain.
Similarly, this week in Maryland, black Democrats from progressive districts are beginning to jump ship. First Melvin Stukes, a co-sponsor of a gay marriage bill in that state’s House of Delegates, unexpectedly announced he was switching sides.
Leadership may yet ram through a bill, and the people of Maryland, like the people of Maine did in 2009, will have to exercise their “people’s veto” through the referendum process.
But the really big newsworthy event in these blue states is the surging, unexpected opposition to gay marriage from the public at large, from the Catholic church, and most significantly, from the black church.