53% Vote on Same-sex Marriage in Maine a 'Narrow Victory'

November 4th, 2009 11:57 AM

President Barack Obama's 2008 popular vote victory, roughly 53% of the electorate, should be considered "narrow" in retrospect, perhaps.

After all, ABC News editors consider a similar margin of victory for same-sex marriage opponents in Maine last night to be "narrow."

The headline and subheader for Devin Dwyer's November 4 story:

Maine Gay Marriage Law Repealed: Voters Narrowly Approve Measure, Dealing Blow To Same-Sex Couples

To his credit, Dwyer himself avoided characterizing the 6-point margin of victory as narrow:

The tide of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples -- which has swept across New England in recent months -- has stopped at Maine.

Voters rejected a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed. The repeal comes just six months after the measure was passed by the Maine legislature and signed by the Democratic Gov. John Baldacci.

Maine would have been the sixth state in the country to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, but instead becomes the 31st state to oppose the unions in a popular vote.

With 87 percent of precincts reporting as of 2 a.m. today, gay marriage opponents claimed 53 percent of the vote to supporters' 47 percent.

A better headline might have been:

31 for 31: With 53% opposed, Maine becomes latest state to reject gay marriage by voter referendum

Of course that would paint Maine voters as within the national mainstream of opinion of same-sex marriage, while taking away what editors may have intended as a subliminal swipe at what they see as a "narrow"-minded Maine electorate.