A new study by Third Way, the Washington, D.C.-based public policy think tank, and Freedom To Marry debunks a political scare tactic promoted by anti-gay activists: that legislators will be punished by their constituents for supporting marriage equality. According to the study, however, a staggering 97% of politicians who voted for marriage equality and ran for reelection won, and at least 85% of the 13 Republicans who have voted for marriage equality since 2010 did not lose their seats because of it. Though 5 out of the 146 politicians who supported same-sex couples did lose their seats, 2 of the 5 were under investigation for corruption or misuse of taxpayer dollars.
This study is particularly important following the November 2012 election, during which anti-gay groups attempted to use reelection losses of legislators in states with marriage equality, such as New York, as evidence of majority opposition to marriage for same-sex couples. It is clear, though, that this is an exceedingly unlikely outcome, and that even when legislators did lose, the motivation behind voters' choices was not certain.
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on the so-called "Defense of Marriage" Act (DOMA) and the anti-gay Proposition 8, and as more states enact full protections for same-sex couples, it is important that the media consider these findings when reporting on legislators who have taken a major step toward equality by supporting marriage for all.
Visit GLAAD's Marriage page to find more ways to take action and stay informed.
GLAAD is a part of the United for Marriage coalition, working with several marriage equality and justice organizations. Join GLAAD in Washington DC, March 25-27 as we stand United for Marriage. For full details, visit the United for Marriage web page and LIKE March 4 Marriage on Facebook.