Gay Marriage is Less of a Problem for Democrats Than Labor Unions Now

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 30 2013 9:56 AM

Gay Marriage Now Less Problematic for Democrats Than Labor Unions

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Same-sex marriage supporters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court on March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

In South Carolina, anyway—though I've talked to Democrats in other red states who say the same thing. In her debate with Mark Sanford, Elizabeth Colbert Busch did something no Democrat would have thought of doing in that district until this year.

On the issue of gay marriage, Colbert Busch acknowledged she was for “full equality,” calling the issue “a matter of civil rights and equal protection under the law.” And quoting the former vice president, whose daughter is openly gay, argued “Freedom is freedom for everyone.”
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OK, and at the same time she rejected any notion that her national support meant that she'd side with labor unions on any future issues like the 2011 NLRB-Boeing contretemps. What explains that? Gay marriage isn't popular in the state—it's just less and less of a signifier, a sign that the person you're talking to is an inconsolable liberal. And it's another example of a culture war fade.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.