I spoke with Oliver Griswold from the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center to find out what we did right in Arizona to defeat a gay marriage ban for the first time in the United States. What happened and what can we learn from Arizona?
Arizona ran a very aggressive campaign against the marriage ban and used a broader message then some of the other campaigns, to make it clear that this type of constitutional amendment does not just harm the gay community, but is broader and would affect domestic partnership benefits across the board, Griswold said.
The campaign was very well run. It had tons of volunteers and a massive Get Out the Vote strategy.
Americans are warming to the idea of Gay MarriageGriswold added that the country as a whole saw much less mobilization, as compared to 2004 around gay marriage bans, and far more energy on the gay rights and progressive side.
If you take it out of the electoral context and look at the trends from 10 years ago when DOMA was passed, youre seeing so much movement, so quickly on this issue that its misleading to look at the simple results of an initiative.
What About Colorado?But what happened in Coloradowhere voters not only passed a ban on gay marriage, but refused to allow for civil unions?
Griswold said, Thats a tough call. In the home of Focus on the Family, that was always destined to be a tough fight. I think it might be too soon to figure out why that dynamic played out the way it did.
If you put the gay marriage initiatives in a broader political context, Griswold says things are moving in a progressive direction. If you put the gay marriage initiatives into the broader field of this year, he said. I think you can see a definite change in direction around use of the initiative process. Conservatives have used this very well for a long time, but the results this year were definitely a mixed bag. They had some serious tax measure strategies fail, they lost the abortion ban in South Dakota. They lost on the stem cell in Missouri. And those were significant losses for them. On the flip side progressives ran six minimum wage measures and won all of them.