Hope in Maryland for Marriage Equality

I’ve heard from many folks in the Maryland and D.C. area who really, really want to win marriage equality at the ballot this November 6. And I deeply hope that you will—more profoundly than I can express. But I don’t like how the numbers look at this particular moment. Going into the balloting with only 52 percent in favor is very close; historically, we’ve lost a few points from the public polling once people get in the voting booth. In the past, 52 percent just hasn’t been enough to cut it. Of course, for many reasons it could be different this time, as I’ve been pointing out here and here. Listen, back in 2000, when California's LGBT community was fighting the Knight Initiative—a first statewide mini-DOMA vote—I wrote, here, in the Prospect, that we had a chance of winning California. We were crushed. That happened again with Prop. 8 in 2008, although the margin of loss was much, much smaller. And yet we are going to win California. It might even be this year. 

Sarah Posner and I talked about all this recently on her bloggingheads.tv show. She's one of those who has been really trying to convince me that this time could be different. If you watch, you'll see I keep trying to talk about the initiatives in Maine and Washington; she keeps bringing me back to Maryland, where she lives. If you have a few minutes, do listen to us talk it though (and please forgive the fact that I need to hydrate as much as Paul Ryan!). Main point: People change their minds on marriage equality one by one by one. Those who vote against us aren't necessarily antagonistic or hateful. Mostly they don't think about us; they're busy with their lives. And if you haven't thought marriage equality through, you vote for the default, which is marriage as you've known it to date: heterosexual. But if you get a chance to talk with someone, thoughtfully and openly, about your questions, if you get a chance to ask why same-sex couples want to marry (love, commitment, responsibility, love), then you change your mind.  

Hang in, Maryland, Washington, and Maine, no matter how things turn out on November 6. We are going to win. 

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