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The Moral Factor in the Election By: David Horowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, November 05, 2004


The polls indicate that the issue of principal concern for voters in the key state of Ohio -- as well as other swing states -- was not the war or the economy but "moral issues." In Ohio in particular, the Democrats outpolled their performance in 2000 in their Cleveland base. But this advantage was overcome in the rural districts of western Ohio where thousands of Christian voters cast ballots for the first time. What brought these voters out? We can speculate that a ballot initiative on gay marriage may have had something to do with it. The margin of victory for this initiative, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, was something of the order of 68%-32%. In eleven other states – many of them swing states – similar initiatives were on the ballot and the margins of victory for defining marriage as between a man and a woman was also of the order of 70%. These majorities obviously included independents and Democrats. In other words, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and the leftwing leadership of the gay community provided George Bush with his margin of victory.

Andrew Sullivan, a strong voice of support for the war in Iraq and the war on terror, defected from the President’s camp largely on this issue (although there were others). In a post-mortem on the election, Sullivan writes, “I’ve been trying to think of what to say about what appears to be the enormous success the Republicans had in using gay couples’ rights to gain critical votes in key states.” This formulation puts the proverbial cart before the horse. It was gay leaders and gay advocates like Andrew Sullivan who forced this issue into the election battle. By circumventing the legislative process, by selecting an arrogant and undemocratic judiciary and an anarchist mayor to attempt to force a victory on this issue the gay left also forced the President and his party to seek a legislative remedy to defend the interests of their conservative and religious base. This is the origin of the eleven initiatives in eleven states that defeated the Democratic candidate.

Sullivan continues: “In eight more states now, gay couples have no relationship rights at all. Their legal ability to visit a spouse in hospital, to pass on property, to have legal protections for their children has been gutted. If you are a gay couple living in Alabama, you know one thing: your family has no standing under the law; and it can and will be violated by strangers. I’m not surprised by this. When you put a tiny and despised minority up for popular vote, the minority usually loses.”

Sullivan is dead wrong about this. The American people – the American majority – is a compassionate majority, and minorities, including gays have gained many rights and other benefits in the last several decades as a result of the good will of that majority. The wound inflicted by this election on gay Americans who want to live in stable couples is self-inflicted. On the eve of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s reckless decision to defy a California marriage law that had been passed by a 60% majority of Californians and illegally “marry” gay couples, polls showed that a near majority of all Americans were in favor of civil unions for gays. I firmly believe that if the gay political leadership and spokesmen like Andrew Sullivan had pressed for the recognition of civil unions, which would have granted all those rights Sullivan refers to in his column, the American people would have granted them. It was the gay community’s contempt for the sensibilities of religious Americans who consider marriage a sacred institution and for others who don’t think that a 5,000 year old institution should be remade overnight by a handful of judges in Massachusetts and an arrogant mayor in San Francisco that led to the election debacle for gay Americans and for John Kerry.

Seven or eight years ago, I called Andrew Sullivan and offered to organize a national coalition with him behind the idea of civil unions for gays. I believed then as I believe now that Americans – even Americans who disapprove of gay relationships or consider them sinful – will in their majority support the rights Andrew mentions in the paragraph above. Because these are human decencies that we owe to people who are different from us, and Americans have shown over and over that the appeal to their decency is in the long run irresistible. I also believe that conservative Americans will support the idea that the community has a vested interest in supporting stable relationships between people who love each other and are gay. But when an institution like marriage comes under assault, and when the religious community comes under assault as it has by gay activists and their judicial allies and by anarchist public officials, a very different dynamic takes over. And that is dynamic we saw on Tuesday.

Andrew Sullivan rejected my offer of eight years ago, saying it was “too late” for civil unions. Maybe for the gay community it seemed too late then. But this is now, and the massive defeat of the gay left’s agenda at the polls is as good a time as any to reconsider.


David Horowitz is the founder of The David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of the new book, One Party Classroom.


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