Revisiting the Impact of Anti-Gay Ballot Initiatives

August 11, 2008

On Sunday, August 10, The New York Times reported on the state ballot initiatives that could potentially affect the presidential campaign. There are currently 108 measures up for vote around the country on topics ranging from cutting state income taxes to reducing the influence of unions to banning affirmative action. 

But The New York Times speculates that propositions related to abortion and to banning marriage for same-sex couples will generate the most attention. Come November, people in Arizona, California and Florida will be voting on constitutional amendments that seek to ban marriage for same-sex couples. 

The article stated that the while the marriage issues will not dominate the ballots like in 2004, both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama have addressed the issue, in addition to stating their positions on state abortion amendments and state proposals to ban affirmative action.  McCain endorses the proposals to ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples, while Obama, who previously avoided the issue by saying that it should be left to the states, has openly opposed the bans.

As more and more Americans see loving couples make lifelong commitments to each other, and more and more LGBT people living openly in their communities and workplaces, it’s hard to image that marriage will get the same amount of airtime as in 2004 when 11 marriage bans were up for vote.  Furthermore, other issues like gas prices and taxes are dominating media coverage, and the attention of many Americans.  But there are certainly anti-gay forces out there working to play up these issues in the coming months and trying to drive that wedge.  Media have a responsibility to report on such attempts and investigate the motives behind those tactics.

Cindi Creager is Director of National News.