This is the year that stops. Ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland and Washington seek to ratify marriage equality. And while same-sex couples in Minnesota don't have the freedom to marry, an amendment is on the ballot to enshrine that discrimination into the state's constitution.
Unlike the past, when proponents were swimming against public opinion, our society is becoming increasingly tolerant. Three of these four battles are looking particularly well, and Minnesota is too close to call. It's time to end NOM's win streak, and do it with an exclamation mark—by sweeping this year's initiatives.
As such, we're getting involved in these races. You can help the fight for freedom and equality by donating $3 to the four campaigns coordinating the good guys in their respective states.
Here's the state of play in each state and the organizations doing the heavy lifting:
Mainers United for Marriage
Back in June, several polls had the pro-equality initiative ahead by almost 20 points. This would be a remarkable turnaround from 2009, when a ballot initiative narrowly reversed the state's marriage equality law. Well, a PPP poll due out soon will show a much tighter lead—52-44. This fight is far from over, and we have to make sure the good guys have the resources to pull this one out.
Maryland's legislature passed, and the governor signed, a marriage equality law earlier this year, so just like in Maine in 2009, reactionary forces in the state got the signatures needed to attempt a citizen's veto. Of course, this isn't 2009, and Maryland is more liberal than Maine. The last poll on the topic in the state, back in May, had the good guys ahead 57-37 two weeks after Pres. Barack Obama "evolved" on the issue.
The movement over the last two months can be explained almost entirely by a major shift in opinion about same-sex marriage among black voters. Previously 56% said they would vote against the new law with only 39% planning to uphold it. Those numbers have now almost completely flipped, with 55% of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36% now opposed.We can't assume the lead remains that big, particularly considering what's happened in Maine, so we have to keep pushing hard. And a reminder—marriage equality initiatives usually poll better than actual final results. So we need a cushion going into Election Day.
-PPP's newest poll [September 10-11) on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota finds it virtually tied, with 48% of voters supporting the ban to 47% who oppose it. In January we found 48/44 support for the ban, while in June we found 49/43 opposition. It looks like a toss up.Given how the anti-equality forces tend to overperform the polls at the ballot box, this looks like we're trailing by a bit. But opinion is clearly fluid on the issue, and the lack of a top-of-the-ticket draw for conservative voters could mean the difference.
Washington United For Marriage
The legislature passed, and the governor signed, a law legalizing same-sex marriages early this year. By June, the reactionaries had the signatures needed to try and reverse the new law at the ballot box. The polling has looked good for us—the Elway Poll, probably the best pollster in the state, had 51 percent for equality, 37 percent opposed last week. A SUSA poll earlier this month had it 56-38, an improvement from 50-43 in their July survey.
While some of these look better than others, these are all winnable. 2012 is the year when we stop playing defense and go on the offensive against the NOM neanderthals and their reactionary allies. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time, and the time is finally here.
We have incredible activists doing amazing work in those states. Let's get their backs: Give $3 to each of those four campaigns.