AllahPundit surveys the landscape after yesterday's vote against marriage equality:
In New York, [which lacks a referendum process,] the only outlet for displeasure is to throw the bums out, which made the pressure on the senate more intense. As for why the final tally wasn’t close, I assume the same thing happened here as happened when the amnesty bill went down in flames two years ago: Once the voting started and it became clear that the numbers weren’t there, fencesitters started peeling off. It’s fascinating to think that even in NYS, there’d be eight Democratic state senators who think a no vote is safer for them than a yes. Good luck with fundraising next year, kids. New York doesn’t even have civil unions, so expect that to be the next step to try to make amends. (Either that or a movement to, um, ban divorce.)
The real significance of this, I think, is that with each new blue or bluish state that defeats a marriage initiative, it becomes marginally harder for the Supreme Court to do what I think it’ll probably do and agree with Ted Olson that straights-only marriage laws are a violation of equal protection. Kennedy is the swing vote, of course, and Kennedy has been sympathetic to federalist concerns in the past albeit not when it comes to gays. But if even New York and California are unwilling to join the liberal consensus, maybe he’ll think twice.
I do think we are in a moment of backlash in a very difficult economic period. But I wonder how Ted Olson would respond to being told his position is the "liberal consensus."
There are plenty of principled conservatives who believe that civil equality in such a fundamental matter of human rights should be extended to all citizens. The overwhelming opposition to this is not right or left, but religious. The secular arguments about the horrifying consequences of allowing me and Aaron to live together as a married couple have slowly withered away into the final desperate arguments about "corrupting" children by allowing them to know that married gay couples exist or restricting religious freedom.
And that federal case will take a while to take its course. All I take from New York is that the Democratic party remains what it always has been: a bunch of cowards. And the Republican party remains, with some important exceptions: a bunch of people afraid to alienate bigots. Between the bigots and the cowards, we have the winning argument. And yet in this democracy, right now, argument cedes to fear.