Los Angeles Times reporters Phil Willon and Patrick McGreevy want you to know that yesterday's "Same-sex marriage ruling adds a volatile new issue to the presidential race." But to the Times staffers, the issue poses more dangers for Republicans than Democrats:
Although a November ballot measure could encourage higher turnout by conservatives who are not naturally aligned with McCain, it also could alienate moderates and young voters, who polls show are far more accepting of same-sex marriage.
Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had sketched out a more centrist path than the court's. The decision could encourage Democratic interest groups to press candidates to extend their support for civil unions to same-sex marriage itself.
So the danger for McCain is that those rascally social conservatives could doom his chances to win the White House. The danger for Democrats, that the left-wing activists might rattle the cage a bit more than usual. But the possibility of socially conservative but fiscally liberal Democrats in swing states like Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, or Colorado once again eluding the Democratic vote was dismissed out of hand.
What's more, Willon and McGreevy let slip their bias on the 2004 ballot initiatives as "anti-gay" measures ginned up by Republicans. In fact many of these measures were more strongly advanced by independent social conservative groups as a defensive bulwark against judicial activism:
It would not be the first time that such a measure was wielded in a presidential election year, and it would not be the only one this year; a similar effort will be on the ballot in Florida, and Arizona may also vote on the issue. In 2004, Republicans sought to maximize turnout of conservative evangelical Christians by running anti-gay initiatives in swing states, including Ohio and Florida.
But that year, voters were almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans when asked who should lead the country. This year, voters are more predisposed to side with Democrats, meaning that Republicans have to work harder to attract them.