Another update on a previously-blogged story. I started blogging back in December about the beginning’s of a gay exodus from Virginia, in the face of an anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution that’s almost guaranteed to pass. Last month, the there was more news of gays opting to leave Virginia rather than hang around to see if the amendment passed and whether it would affect their legal arrangements, etc., as well as the American Psychological Association moving its meetings out of Virginia due to similar concerns about how the amendment will affect its gay & lesbian members and employees once it’s passed.
Now there’s some surprising news of an increase in opposition to the anti-gay marriage amendment.
Opponents of a proposed sweeping gay marriage amendment in Virginia believe they are gaining momentum as business and church leaders climb on board to help defeat the measure.
The only concern is time – is there enough of it between now and election day to win the hearts and minds of voters.
If passed the amendment would ban same-sex marriage, civil unions and possibly be used to void domestic partner benefits.
The most recent poll, taken in July, showed that 56 percent of likely voters said they would vote in favor of amending the state constitution, while 38 percent of voters said they would vote against it. Only six percent of those surveyed remain undecided.
The poll, taken four months before election day, had the lowest support in the same time frame of any state in recent history where a gay marriage referendum was put to voters.
Groups fighting the amendment believe as people become aware of the broad nature of the amendment they are having second thoughts. And those groups fighting the proposed ban are not just LGBT rights organizations, but business groups and churches.
I don’t expect the Virginia amendment to fail come election day. Let’s not get completely crazy or wildly optimistic here. This is still Virginia we’re talking about here.
But there may be an opportunity to read a victory in the margin by which the amendment passes. After all, there was that poll indicating that opposition to the bill went up when participants were read the entire amendment. In Wisconsin we’ve seen that an explanation of the potential effect of a similar amendment can increase opposition among even some conservatives. And the margins are narrowing in Wisconsin too.
So, if nothing else, it may identify an effective strategy for fighting these amendments, even if the Virginia amendment passes.