As the 81st session of the Texas Legislature got under way this week, we reported that LGBT advocates are concerned about socially conservative lawmakers trying to force votes on anti-gay legislation in 2009. The strategy is simple: The religious right threatens moderate Republicans, or even conservative Democrats, into thinking that if they don’t support bigotry, they won’t get re-elected in 2010. But does this strategy really work anymore? Well, in some cases, and especially in Texas, it very well still might, but now there’s also some pretty convincing evidence that voting for equality DOES NOT HURT AND ACTUALLY APPEARS TO HELP state legislators’ re-election chances.
The evidence comes in the form of a study released this week by Freedom to Marry, a national organization supporting marriage equality. The study found that every single state legislator nationwide who’s voted to legalize same-sex marriage and then sought re-election HAS WON. That’s 499 state legislators in four states!!! What’s more, voting against constitutional amendments that seek to ban same-sex marriage DOES NOT HURT legislators’ re-election chances. Not one of the 670 legislators from 17 states who’ve voted against marriage amendments has lost a bid for re-election. This includes all 38 Texas legislators who voted against Prop 2 in 2005 and have run for re-election in 2006 and 2008.