Flashback: When Democrats Swore They Would Never Back Gay Marriage

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 27 2013 7:41 PM

Flashback: When Democrats Swore They Would Never Back Gay Marriage

Jon Allen follows HuffPost's intriguing advocacy journalism by quoting the few Democrats who haven't endorsed gay marriage yet. (HuffPost's been straight-up shaming them, naming the senators who have yet to flip and explaining that "the arc of history is moving in the direction of marriage equality.) He finds only two senators up in 2014 who refuse to endorse same-sex marriage. That's incredible. It was also predicted by conservatives nearly 10 years ago.

Above, you'll find a short video composed of the floor speeches some top Democrats made about SSM. At the time, Republicans wanted to block gay marriage in Massachusetts by amending the constitution with an official marriage definition. Democrats argued against that, but they didn't argue in favor of gay marriage. They argued that DOMA made such an amendment unneccessary. They assured people like Rick Santorum that the slippery slope case for gay marriage was bogus.

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The new Democratic advocates for SSM fall into two camps. The first consists of people who always liked the idea of this but worried about losing national elections. In his memoir, Democratic consultant Bob Shrum remembers John Kerry fretting that the Massachusetts Supreme Court had forced Democrats to talk about gay marriage before they were ready to. "Why couldn't they just wait a year?" he asked Shrum, mournfully. The second camp consists of people who really do oppose the idea of gay people getting married. Republicans argued that this second camp was tiny, and that liberals were hiding behind it. They were right!

Thanks to Bill Smee and Emma Roller for the actual work on that video clip.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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