Opponents of same-sex marriage have created a three-pronged effort that insures the issue will be a key topic in the Presidential election. There are efforts underway by Republicans legislators in Iowa, the first caucus state, and New Hampshire, the first primary state, to end their existing marriage laws. In Iowa, the GOP-controlled House has begun the process of passing a bill to put a ban on the ballot. In New Hampshire, both the House and Senate are now GOP-led and they could try to repeal the law later this year or in 2012. In Congress, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) indicated that he’s going to push legislation to block DC’s marriage law.
It’s like an anti-marriage perfect storm. These efforts guarantee that the GOP presidential candidates (except, of course, Fred Karger) who are traipsing through Iowa and New Hampshire will try to burnish their right-wing cred by engaging in the usual gay-bashing. And, the effort by GOPers in Congress adds fuel to the fire. We’ve already seen potential Republican candidates, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum, groveling before the haters. We can expect a lot more of that. And, just wait til the debates start. The GOP candidates will be doing contortions to show their base just how much they hate the gays.
Now, there’s something different about all three of the anti-gay efforts in DC, NH and Iowa. In each, it isn’t about preventing same-sex marriage. In those three jurisdictions, the homophobes are trying to take rights away from citizens. That should put these battles into a different light. If they can come for our rights, they can (and will) come for the rights of others.
In all three legislative bodies, Republicans vowed to create jobs and focus on the economy. But, they just can’t control their homophobia.
On the Democratic side, Obama needs to fully evolve on his support for marriage equality (or evolve back to his 1996 pro-marriage position.) It’s unclear if that will happen. As marriage becomes an issue for the GOP homophobes, Obama is going to have the chance to weigh in on efforts to strip away rights from citizens. Remember, despite repeated requests, Obama didn’t really say much about the 2009 ballot measures in Maine and Washington. Obama should take a very strong stand against these insidious, hateful efforts (and vow to veto any legislation on DC) — especially since it appears his Justice Department will still be defending DOMA in the courts. The President needs to stay true to what he said at the DADT bill signing, “We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.'” And, we can’t be a nation that takes away rights. Period.
One thing is clear: Marriage will be an issue in 2012. There’s no way to avoid it. The anti-gay forces and the GOP presidential candidates are insuring it.