As much as the GOP needs a wedge issue to energize its base, and have any chance at all of not suffering an embarrassing defeat in November, it looks like yesterday’s California Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in the state, won’t do the trick.
A recent Gallup Poll taken before yesterday’s court ruling found that 89% of those surveyed believe that homosexuals should have equal rights in the workplace. Another disturbing trend for those who are seeking to make this a political issue was that those who believe that homosexuality is an acceptable alternative lifestyle tied a four year poll high of 57%.
Most Americans believe that same sex marriages should not be recognized, and have the same rights as traditional marriages. By a margin of 56%-40%, those surveyed did not believe that gay marriages should have equal legal rights. This represents a six point decrease in those who believe in equal rights from last year’s poll.
The nation is split on amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage, 49% favor it while 48% oppose it. This is the lowest percentage in favor since July 2004. I think that if John McCain wants to run around the country campaigning against gay marriage, let him. Although, this would be popular with parts of the GOP base, it would also make McCain look like a radical Republican in the eyes of Independents.
The McCain campaign didn’t exactly rally to the social conservative cause yesterday saying that McCain “supports the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman, just as he did in his home state of Arizona. John McCain doesn’t believe judges should be making these decisions.” In layman’s terms McCain dodged the issue by saying that it is up to the states.
Obama has repeated stated that his position on the issue is civil unions, which by the way, is something the Gallup Poll didn’t bother to ask about.
I have to admit that I am personally torn on this issue. I don’t believe in discriminating against anyone, but when I make my own list important issues, this isn’t one of them.
Republicans have tried to use the same sex marriage issue as means of distracting voters away from bigger problems such as war, the economy, and healthcare.
With most barometers on this issue suggesting that attitudes are moving away from the Republican Party, they can try to revive the controversy, but it may hurt instead of help in November.