Fundy Watch: FOF & FRC All Atwitter Over Gay Marriage genre: Econ-Recon & Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

As we approach the November election, the effort to utilize the wedge issue of same-sex marriage to sway voters is in full bloom. It's also an opportunity for fundy groups to implore their followers to cut loose some of their cash to support the cause. One thing is for sure, these folks intend to ride the same-sex is sinful gravy train until it falls off the rails.

On of the items garnering the attention of the religious right is a report that the state of Massachusetts may consider repealing a 1913 law that prevents the marriage of gay couples from out of state.

From The Boston Globe:

State lawmakers are expected to vote next week on repealing a 1913 law that prevents out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from getting married in Massachusetts, reigniting a divisive debate on an issue that has stirred passions and put the state in the national spotlight.

The Senate is expected to take up the legislation Tuesday, and the House will follow shortly afterward, according to several lawmakers. House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray favor the repeal, but their support on such a hot-button social issue does not guarantee that rank-and-file lawmakers will follow.

Advocates of same-sex marriage rights said they are hopeful the repeal will pass, given the support from the legislative leadership and from Governor Deval Patrick, whose position is much more sympathetic than that of Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican who was a staunch opponent of gay marriage.

"This is extraordinarily significant," said Arline Isaacson, cochairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. "If we get the 1913 law repealed, it brings us one very important step closer to full equality."

The 1913 statute prevents Massachusetts from sanctioning marriages that are not legal in the state where the couple lives. The law was enacted in part to prevent interracial couples from evading their own state's ban by traveling to Massachusetts to marry. It was a little-used and rarely enforced law until opponents used it to prevent out-of-state gay couples from getting married in Massachusetts after the state legalized same-sex marriage in 2004.

The following video, from Focus on the Family, is their attempt to highlight the potential repeal in Massachusetts, and to make their followers aware of the importance of battling the proponents of same-sex equality in the upcoming election. In other words, the repeal of an antiquated law, designed to address interracial marriage, is being portrayed as part and parcel of the homosexual agenda.

Another tactic employed by these rabidly anti-gay groups includes the commissioning of polling designed to build momentum amongst those who are inclined to oppose measures granting marriage equality to gays. Yes, polling involves a level of statistical rigor, but the manner in which questions are asked can be geared to elicit a preferred response.

This week, the Family Research Council released data from their latest survey. Let me be clear. While I realize that a majority of Americans are likely opposed to same-sex marriage, I don't believe it is a litmus test issue for a majority of voters. The FRC survey asked the following question.

As you may know, several states have measures on the November ballot that would amend their state constitutions to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Would you be more or less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports those amendments?

As with most wedge issues, I suspect there is a segment of the population that would make this, as well as other issues, a determining factor in the ballot box. However, I suspect that the number of voters who see same-sex marriage as non-negotiable is far short of a majority. Clearly, there will always be single issue voters. However, I suspect that 2008 will find most voters concerned about a number of issues.

In order to determine which issues will hold the most swing, one would need to look at which issues are of greatest import to voters in any given election cycle. A poll by Franklin & Marshall College provides some relevant insight into the 2008 election...and the survey points out that social issues, while important to a significant number of voters, are not the primary factors influencing voter sentiment.

From Yahoo News:

McCain is cleaning up more than 3 to 1 among voters who think the country is headed in the right direction, he's ahead 20 points among voters whose personal finances are better off compared to last year, he's clobbering Obama 4 to 1 among voters who think family values are the top issue of the campaign, he's hammering him by 25 points among voters who say foreign policy is the biggest issue, he's beating him 5 to 1 among voters who list illegal immigration as the top issue, and he's winning by more than 20 points among voters who rank taxes as the most important issue.

Good news for McCain? Maybe not! Winning only matters if what you're winning matters too. And in McCain's case, it largely doesn't. In fact as the Franklin & Marshall College Poll also reveals, despite losing on a wide range of usually salient issues, Barack Obama leads John McCain nationally by six percentage points.

McCain is winning the issue battles but losing the electoral war, because the issues he is winning are not the issues most voters care about. Family values, immigration, foreign policy, country on the right track, and better off finances--count McCain a winner. But on the issues voters say are most important to their vote choice this year--the economy, Iraq, and health care--McCain is a big loser.

n sharp contrast, the issues McCain is losing, he is losing big: the economy (20 points), Iraq (24 points), and health care (45 points). Worse for him, these three are the critical issues of the campaign--two of every three voters list one of them as the most important issue this year. And McCain is losing all three of them to Obama.

In the political algebra of 2008 presidential politics, McCain is winning where it matters least while losing where it matters most.

While we're still months from the election, there are many reasons to believe that these kitchen table issues will continue to be the dominant concerns for a significant majority of voters concerns. In fact, there are indications that the economy may become an even larger determinant as we approach November. Gas prices aren't apt to decline any time soon, unemployment is likely to rise, the stock market continues to struggle, and the government may soon find itself in the mortgage business to the tune of 5 trillion dollars if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fail.

As I see it, there just aren't that many Americans who have the luxury to weight same-sex marriage above their own economic self-interest. Besides, the last time I checked, groups like FOF and FRC were asking for money from the flock; not offering to fill their tanks with gas or put food on their table.

I suspect we're approaching the point at which many of these holy heterosexual families will have to face the reality that the economic well-being of their family has very little to do with the same-sex couple down the block. Perhaps they'll finally be forced to focus on their own families for a change.

UPDATE:

Not to be outdone, American Family Association's Don Wildmon is chiming in on the evils of same-sex marriage.

Dr. Donald Wildmon is founder of the American Family Association and an organizer of the Arlington Group. He says passage of the California marriage amendment is critical.

"If we lose California, if they defeat the marriage amendment, I'm afraid that the culture war is over and Christians have lost," says Wildmon, a 30-year veteran of the culture war. "I've never said that publicly until now -- but that's just the reality of the fact.

"If the homosexuals are able to defeat the marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, then the culture war is over and we've lost -- and gradually, secularism will replace Christianity as the foundation of our society," he adds.

The vote in California, Wildmon explains, will affect the entire nation. "California is a big dam, holding back the flood -- and if you take down the dam in California, it's going to flood 49 other states," he illustrates. "It will destroy marriage as it has been known for thousands of years, and with that the cultural decline that normally would follow."

Well there you have it...if California allows gay marriage to proceed, we can all put on our best duds, pack our bags, and prepare for the rapture party. Does anyone know if there will be an after hours party? I'm thinking that's the place to be. After all, by then all the wingnuts should be standing at the pearly gates waiting to see if their admission pass gets validated.

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