The debate over same-sex marriage continues to be an intense issue in the United States of America. Next Tuesday, voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington will decide on their state's definition of marriage as they vote for the next president. And the Supreme Court will likely soon hear cases regarding California's Proposition 8 and the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, oversees a nationwide organization that served as the major out-of-state funder for the traditional marriage side of the four referendums.
Brown talked with The Christian Post on Friday about the four referendums, the impact of the marriage debate on the presidential election, the Supreme Court, and the definition of marriage.
The following are excerpts from the interview:
CP: There will be four referendums on the issue of marriage definition on Tuesday, November 6. Regarding the four, which of the four do you think will be the closest and which do you believe will be the most secure?
Brown: Well I think that all four are difficult states. I mean, we've won in every state where it was easy to collect signatures and get this on the ballot. Our track record speaks for itself. Marriage has won 32 and zero. And the states that are left are states where it's easier for the other side. These are more liberal states.
I think all four are going to be tough. I'm still confident that we can win all four. If we were to lose one I know what will happen immediately is that the other side will say, 'Hey, the world has changed! This is the tipping point!' Well, if that does happen that's still one.
We still have the record of overwhelming consensus. If we lost one, lost two, those would be the outliers.
Maine is tough, a tough state. All these states we've been grossly outspent and part of what we have to do is have the resources to get our message out. The other side gets its message out for free. When every major newspaper endorses your position, you've got free advertising. So we don't have that, we have to pay to get it out.
CP: In an election where many people point to the economy as the big issue, how much of an influence will the overall marriage debate have on the presidential election?
Brown: I think it's the sleeper issue of the election. I think that people have failed to look at the reality that when President Barack Obama came out and endorsed same-sex marriage the day after marriage won in North Carolina by 61 percent, he lost North Carolina. Look at where the polling is.
I firmly believe Romney is going to win North Carolina. Part of the reason for that is that President Obama's position is so outside the mainstream of North Carolina opinion. A lot of these swing states we have been focused on getting the message out about the difference between Mitt Romney and President Obama.
I think that Romney is going to win this; I think he will win this because he is going to pull those voters…in places like in Ohio, in Virginia, in Florida. These are states that passed marriage amendments by over 60 percent so they're very good ground for us and our people are motivated to get out and vote on the issue.
(Reporter's note: Virginia passed their marriage amendment with 57 percent of the vote)
CP: Soon the Supreme Court will be reviewing two issues regarding marriage definition, one on California's Proposition 8 and the other regarding the Defense of Marriage Act. How do you believe these will turn out?
Brown: I think that we will win both. I don't see the Supreme Court wanting to unleash another Roe v. Wade on marriage. The arguments being made and the decisions that were made in the lower courts are so far outside any understanding of the Constitution that's rooted in its actual words.
I don't think the Court is going to say, is going to trump all these votes. That's essentially what you would have.
We did have a debate over polygamy in new states entering the Union and clearly no one thought the federal government didn't have the power to dictate to states what marriage was and a lot of it has to do with the simple issue that you get these conflict of law issues that are rising everywhere.
You have same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, what we've seen is the strategy is to use that to try and overturn the marriage amendments in other states. So far it hasn't worked, but that clearly is the strategy. So ultimately I do think we need a federal definition of marriage or else you do have judges deciding the future and I think that's wrong.
CP: The other side says that same-sex marriage will inevitably win. They will bring up things like the fact that these latest referendums are tougher, the lack of same-sex marriage being a big campaign issue, etc. Arguments like these could be found in a recent Washington Post opinion column by Ruth Marcus. What evidence from the past year do you bring that same-sex marriage is not inevitable?
Brown: Governor Romney went right before the NAACP where he got a standing ovation after the NAACP leadership endorsed same-sex marriage. Romney goes there and says 'I will defend traditional marriage' and he gets a standing ovation. He's not been shy about his position on this.
Obviously the economy is a huge issue now, but it's not as though the governor has not been talking about it.
This whole inevitability myth is just that. It's a myth. They said the same thing before North Carolina. [The Washington Post editorial section] was the last person that should speak on this issue. The Post was saying we're going to lose North Carolina. When you have that bad of a bias, when you're saying we're going to lose a state that we win by 61 percent, I think you have sort of lost the ability to be taken seriously when you predict our imminent failure.