The New Jersey Supreme Court - those same judicial geniuses who decided that a legislatively mandated deadline to get Robert Torricelli's name off the ballot in the 2002 mid-term election was really just a suggestion - has decided that same-sex marriages may be constitutionally permitted in the Garden State.
On MSNBC yesterday morning, I made this approximate case:
If I were a Republican candidate for Congress I would immediately change my campaign to reflect the New Jersey decision.
I would say, "Connect the dots:
If the Democrats win control of the House, Nancy Pelosi will be the Speaker.
Nancy Pelosi is from where? San Francisco.
San Francisco is known for what? Two things: A song by Tony Bennett and being ground zero for Gay rights.
If you want Sister Boom-Boom to be the Clerk of the House, vote for the Democrat."
I know I will be accused of gay-bashing, but I am not. I am looking at this from a purely political standpoint.
I understand homosexuality exists and denying that is foolhardy. If we want to reduce the effects of HIV/AIDS on society, fostering long-term relationships - even homosexual relationships - would be one very good way to do it.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures,
"Forty-one states currently have statutory Defense of Marriage Acts. Twenty of those states have defined marriage in their constitutions. Eight states have a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2006."
According to the NCSL the gradations are:
- Issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples: Massachusetts
- Allows civil unions, providing state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples: Connecticut, Vermont
- Statewide law provides nearly all state-level spousal rights to unmarried couples: California
- Statewide law provides some state-level spousal rights to unmarried couples: Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, District of Columbia
By the way, the six states which have constitutional Defense of Marriage amendments on their ballots a week from Tuesday are:
Any bets on how those initiatives will fare at the polls? Any bets on whether it will have an impact on the US Senate races in Virginia or Tennessee? Not because of the position of each of the candidates (who are all more-or-less against gay marriages) but because this is such a hot-button issue for Conservatives.
The very glimmer of a glance of a hint of a whisper that a US House controlled by Democrats - San Francisco Democrats - will move the gay agenda ahead is likely to be a huge trigger in driving Republicans to turn out and vote on November 7.
According to Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center quoted by Reuters:
"In a close election almost anything can make a difference and Virginia is one state where this could happen. ... If it helps to mobilize Christian conservatives it could potentially give George Allen a bit of an uptick."
Because there is so much opposition to gay marriage among the voting public, Democratic candidates will be forced, like Harold Ford in Tennessee and Jim Webb in Virginia, to agree with the GOP position.
That will not change many voters' minds, but it might tend to slightly depress Liberal voter turnout which, to turn Scott Keeter's statement around, might serve to provide a downtick for Democratic candidates.
On the MSNBC appearance, my debate opponent, Sasha Burns said that Republicans wanted to use this issue to get voters away from talking about the economy and Iraq.
I said, "This, from a woman who's party couldn't utter a single sentence which didn't include the word 'Foley' for two-and-a-half weeks."
Republican candidates have been rebounding over the past three or four days. The New Jersey Supreme Court might have provided just enough of an wedge issue to provide the GOP with the edge it needs.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the NCSL page, the Wikipedia entry on Sister Boom-Boom, the NJ Supreme Court's remarkable action in 2002, and the Reuters reporting on the potential political outfall. Also a Mullfoto which will lift your spirits and a Catchy Caption of the Day which will ... not.