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I agree with Dale Carpenter about what now appears to be an uphill battle against Proposition 8:

What’s interesting to me is that both sides have avoided the merits of allowing gay couples to marry. Gay-marriage supporters have done so, with focus-group tested messages in hand, because they suspect a large group of people even in a progressive statement are still deeply uncomfortable with homosexuality and certainly don’t like gay marriage. Gay-marriage opponents have done so, I presume, because they know that Americans don’t like to be seen as discriminating or opposing civil rights. So they paint gay marriage, instead, as itself a threat to the rights of religious people and parents. The theory seems to be that the side that’s most seen as defending rights is the side that wins.

I doubt that any months-long campaign of television ads, no matter their content, could really change the basic impulses most people have on this issue. Those impulses, whether they lead you to support or oppose gay marriage, are developed over a lifetime of experience. Very few people come to this issue without some fairly strongly held views. Such views are hard to dislodge.

Still, there’s something to Rostow’s hope that one day gay-marriage supporters might actually argue that gay marriage is a good thing. If we’re going to lose these ballot fights anyway, why not fight the good fight rather than the agnostic one?

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