Gay marriage has joined Soc/Sec as a "third rail" issue, and decisions in VT, IA and DC mean it's gathering steam just in time for '10. But at a time when record numbers of voters are worried about the economy, how relevant will this debate - or any other controversial social issue - be?
-- Polls show a relatively low level of support for same-sex marriage. But it's not exactly a top-of-mind issue. In the latest Diageo/Hotline poll, 85% said the economy was #1; moral/social issues came in at 7%.
-- On its face, it's easy to see how it can be a serious motivator for primary voters on both sides. Then again, maybe not. We remember when immig. was poised to dominate the WH'08 GOP race, preventing John McCain from winning the nod.
-- Meanwhile, for all the posturing that nat'l figures are/will be doing, it's local pols who are on the frontlines. And, for the most part, they're breaking along party lines too.
-- In IA, Dem Gov. Culver announced his opposition to trying to overturn the decision, a position that, the Omaha World-Herald notes, stood "in stark contrast" to an earlier pledge. Meanwhile, GOP Govs. Douglas (VT) and Carcieri (RI) are fighting same-sex marriage proposals in their states.
-- Whether their decisions affect them is TBD. But, if the economy is still front and center next year, as expected, it's easy to see how gay marriage gets left on the backburner.
This article appears in the April 8, 2009, edition of Latest Edition.