Salon.com’s political experts, in a roundtable led by UMBC’s Tom Schaller, discuss whether gay marriage has lost its mojo as an electoral wedge issue for social conservatives:
In 2004, gay marriage referendums littered state ballots and were used by Republicans to motivate social conservatives to turn out and vote for George W. Bush. A gay marriage referendum may have helped Bush win Ohio and reelection. Four years later, even though Barack Obama won California’s popular vote by landslide numbers, state voters passed Proposition 8, limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. This surprise from a socially liberal state was followed this month by what some think is an even more surprising decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to void the Hawkeye State’s gay marriage ban. Then, four days later, the Vermont Legislature overrode the governor’s veto in order to authorize gay marriage. This past Thursday, New York Gov. David Paterson introduced a same-sex marriage bill; on Friday, John McCain’s campaign manager suggested the GOP should back gay marriage. As both a policy issue and a political hot potato, gay marriage is back in the news. Can opposition to gay marriage still help the Republicans on Election Day, or have we reached a tipping point? Salon asked three guests to helps us weigh what is at stake in the ongoing battle to define marriage in America.