Making Sense of Maine

More

I'll confess to being surprised by the result in Maine. Having spent a lot of time in the state, where my brother has lived for decades, I thought its libertarian streak would prevail. After all, this wasn't a court ruling being overturned by the electorate. The legislature had passed the gay marriage measure and the governor had enthusiastically signed it. Granted the law wouldn't take effect without the ballot measure, but still you had a big chunk of the political class behind the deal, and you have a state where the medical marijuana measure passed overwhelmingly on the same day. (Who were the pro-pot anti-gay marriage voters, I wonder?)

In any event, I think it is a big defeat in the short run for the gay-marriage movement. In the long run, it's hard to think that the expansion of rights won't prevail. As gay marriage becomes the norm in those states permitting it, the arguments against it will probably fade. Has gay marriage undermined what Miss America contestant Carrie Prejan famously called "opposite marriage"? Have divorce rates been affected, or new marriage formation? As it becomes virtually normal, to paraphrase my colleague, Andrew Sullivan, the practice will gain clout. But for now the defeat of the referendum in Maine not long after California suggests a real firewall for gay marriage. There are legal suits to overturn California's referendum, and perhaps they'll prevail. But in the meantime, the marriage movement seems stalled even as gay acceptance--Houston's on its way to having a gay mayor, as of last night--seems, thankfully, more widespread than ever.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In