Voters in Missouri look poised to pass an amendment banning gay marriage in the Show Me State tomorrow. A socially conservative swing state, Missouri is less than ideal turf for gay rights activists waging a culture war. But the amendment vote might have an even broader impact on this year's presidential election as it gets the socially conservative Missourians registered and politically active. It also puts the spotlight on one of John Kerry's less than ideal issues. The latest Newsweek poll shows more support for President Bush's stance on gay marriage than Kerry's.
But with the election tomorrow, the Democratic challenger has plenty of time to refocus in Missouri. In other swing states vital to Kerry's bid, though, the debate will rage on. Ballot initiatives on gay marriage are pending in Oregon and Michigan, and Oregonians will definitely get to vote on the issue on November 2nd at the same time they vote for president. Like Ralph Nader, gay marriage seems to be showing up on all the wrong ballots for the Kerry campaign. So the gay marriage debate, temporarily settled on the national level, may yet have national ramifications.
Stephen W. Stromberg
Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.