The conventional wisdom is that gay marriage is dead—extinct, expired, an ex-issue. But two states' decisions this fall are going to have an impact on the course of the debate. In Colorado, four alternately draconian measures are on there way to qualifying for the ballot.
Come November, Coloradans may have to decide whether the same is true of the current Perkins measure, which gay-rights advocates have dubbed "Son of Amendment 2." They may also evaluate Initiative 83, which reiterates Colorado's statutory definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. On the other side, there's Referendum H, which authorizes the creation of same-sex domestic partnerships, and Initiative 139, which counters Perkins' measure.
Referendum H? Couldn't they agree to skip that letter, like hotels skip the 13th floor? In any case, there's a possibility that the multiple anti-gay measures confuse voters and that an actual gay marriage ban gets lost in the shuffle with the "no domestic partnership" measure.
There's a more clear-cut showdown in Wisconsin, the home of razor's edge battles in presidential elections. A ballot measure that would ban gay marriage and "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals" is not leading in the polls—its fate is too close to call. In the latest poll, 48.5 percent of voters favor the ban while 47.8 percent oppose it.
Is gay marriage becoming more acceptable through attrition? Is the lack of gay weddings in the headlines a la 2004's San Francisco frenzy cooling off the momentum of gay marriage opponents?