Inundated by this wave, opponents of gay marriage had proved their potency not by electing Romney but by outpolling him. In the four ballot-measure states, “we outperformed the Republican presidential candidate by over six points, on average,” said Brown. By adding this cushion to Romney’s 48.4 percent of the popular vote, Brown calculated, "Had marriage been put to a national vote, the evidence suggests that our side would have captured 55% of the popular vote.” Indeed, based on its privately commissioned poll of “800 randomly selected people who actually voted,” NOM reported that 60 percent of respondents agreed that "marriage is between one man and one woman.” These figures, of course, were far more reliable than the national joint media exit poll, in which a 49 to 46 percent plurality of more than 5,200 voters said yes to the question, “Should your state legally recognize same-sex marriage?”
4. We still have the blacks. In February, NOM warned Democratic state legislators in Maryland that they’d “have to answer to their constituents, including the upwards of 70% of African Americans who oppose redefining marriage." Later, NOM launched radio ads in North Carolina, promising to use black conservatism on gay marriage as a wedge to turn African-Americans against Obama.
Both threats fizzled. In North Carolina, 96 percent of blacks voted for Obama. In Maryland, the percentage of blacks opposing gay marriage fell to 54 percent—and black women voted narrowly to legalize it—fatally depriving NOM of the margins it had expected. “The majority still supported traditional marriage,” Brown argued, making the best of the debacle. That spin, too, was undermined by the national exit poll: Blacks supported gay marriage 51 to 41 percent, and Latinos supported it 59 to 32 percent. Yet Brown continues to peddle his issue as a bridge-builder for the GOP: “There are key groups like the African-American community, like Latinos and others, that we can reach out to.”
NOM is far from dead. Its record is 32-4. And when Brown says cultural change isn’t always a one-way street, he’s right. But the excuses he has concocted for this year’s skunking won’t survive further defeats. If same-sex marriage keeps rising in national polls, and blacks keep shifting, and NOM starts to lose in purple states when Obama’s no longer on the ballot, the myth of the fearsome traditional-marriage lobby will unravel. And there won’t be a closet big enough for NOM to hide in.
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