NY Times on Prop 8: “A Challenge for Both Parties”


New York Times - “Gay Marriage Ruling a Challenge for Both Parties

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge’s decision on Wednesday overturning Proposition 8 — California’s ban on same-sex marriage — has tossed a largely unwanted issue into the middle of the November midterm elections.

The decision, which ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional, has complicated the political tasks before President Obama, whose aides had to explain in the wake of the decision that the president supported equal gay rights but opposed marriage rights for gay men and lesbians. . . .

“I definitely think it’s going to have an effect on the 2010 elections,” said Brian S. Brown, the executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, who called the decision the beginning of a “major national culture war.”

“You’re going to see ads, you’re going to see folks standing up on this issue, and the people that support Walker’s decision are going to pay a price,” Mr. Brown said. . . .

Mr. Brown said the decision — the first of its kind at a federal level — had effectively “nationalized” the issue. “Two years ago, three years ago, you had some Republicans saying, ‘I don’t see a threat from the courts,’ ” he said. “Well, Judge Walker made clear that the threat is not only coming, it is immediate.”

Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, which opposes same-sex marriage, agreed, saying that her group was looking even further down the line with the case, which was appealed Thursday by supporters of Proposition 8 and is likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court. “We are also looking for opportunities to demonstrate that pro-gay marriage Republicans lose,” she said in an e-mail, “and to lay the groundwork for a federal marriage amendment, if the Supreme Court refuses to respect people’s right to vote for marriage.”

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