the california supreme court overturned the states' ban on gay marriage yesterday and already analysts (or at least adam nagourney) are wondering how this will kill the democrats chances in the november election. nagourney quotes brian brown, the executive director of "the National Organization for Marriage in California", an anti-gay marriage group. unsurprisingly, brown predicted that the obama campaign would suffer because of the gay marriage ruling.
so then nagourney looks into history, how have prior gay marriage issued affected prior races? he focuses on 2004, noting that "there is considerable debate whether the marriage issue helped Republican candidates in 2004" but then quoting a bunch of people who seem to think that the gay marriage issue might have helped republicans in that election.
but why did nagourney focus on 2004? why not look at 2006? on october 25, 2006, the new jersey supreme court issued its gay marriage ruling. it was less than two weeks before the 2006 midterm elections. people immediately assumed that the ruling would give republicans a boost in elections around the country, indeed, i predicted "a last-minute election year shit storm." the storm didn't materialize, and the democrats went on to win big on november 7, 2006.
which suggests that maybe, just maybe, the gay marriage issue isn't the democrat-killing issue that it's always assumed to be.