Why Marriage Won This Time

Rev. Debra Peevey directed the efforts of More Light Presbyterians during the Amendment 10-A campaign. In the last election cycle, she directed faith efforts in Washington State to help pass Referendum 74, a ballot initiative to approve Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 allowing same-sex couples to marry. In a recent Keen News Service article, Debra discusses the contributions people of faith made in the significant marriage equality victories in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

The Baltimore Sun said the passage of Question 6 in Maryland could be “traced in part” to the involvement of the faith community, in particular to the fact that two African American Southern Baptist ministers chose to “lend their names, faces and reputations to a campaign on an issue that remains highly controversial in their community.”

On the other side of the country, the Rev. Debra Peevey, Faith Director of the Washington United for Marriage Campaign, said the marriage equality campaigns in all four states had concerted efforts in place to counter powerful arguments used against marriage equality in the passage of Proposition 8 in California in 2008.

“Faith was a big pushback on Prop 8,” said Peevey. “Catholics and Mormons were able to make the claim that the faith position was to be against same-sex marriage. But, this time, we met that and overcame. In all four states, we had a lot of people of faith holding conversations in person and at the phone banks, even knocking on doors so that they could share with people, ‘I’m a person of faith, and I’m voting to approve Ref 74’.”…

Peevey, an Arizona resident who also volunteered in the work against Proposition 8 in California in 2008, said the Prop 8 campaign “changed a lot of stuff everywhere.”

When Catholic bishops in Washington launched a “very aggressive” campaign in October to insert bulletins against Referendum 74 in every Catholic church in the state, the Washington United for Marriage group was ready, said Peevey.

“This amazing coalition of Catholics for Marriage Equality in Washington made a counter bulletin insert to every one of the bishops’ inserts –and in English and Spanish.”

And when opponents of same-sex marriage in Washington launched their eleventh-hour television ad aimed at parents of young children –a tactic that had caught pro-marriage equality groups “off-guard” in California in 2008 —Washington United for Marriage was ready with its response.

“This time, all four [state marriage equality] campaigns were totally prepared for it,” said Peevey. “The day the ad came out, we had the [Washington] state superintendent of public instruction quoted as saying it wasn’t true.  Teachers were up in a television ad the next day saying there is no such curriculum being taught, never has been. We had editorials saying it wasn’t true.”

Beyond the contributions of people of faith, there are many other factors in the victories in this election cycle. The full article is available at the Keen News Service.

All Eyes on the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will go behind closed doors on Friday to decide whether now is the time to rule on marriage equality cases. SCOTUSBlog, the Supreme Court blog, is currently running a four-part series by Lyle Denniston on the constitutional issues related to same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage I: The constitutional standard
Same-sex marriage II: The arguments for

See Also: