Freedom To Marry

The gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide

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Election 2004

The 2004 post-election spin quickly latched onto "values" as an explanation of the results for both the presidential vote and for passage of all 11 anti-gay state constitutional amendments. In doing so, many sought to scapegoat the freedom to marry movement and with it the entire gay community. An analysis of the actual voting data, along with post-election surveys, proves that view wrong.

Use the key resources below to learn more about what ACTUALLY happened in the 2004 election and how the fight for equality was wrongly scapegoated for political losses.

 


 

FROM EVAN WOLFSON:

ANALYSIS: The wrong thing to do: Clinton's anti-gay advice
Freedom to Marry
November 5, 2004

Newsweek's post-election (November 15th) issue alleges behind-the-scenes advice to Kerry from Clinton: Support anti-gay state amendments to ban marriage equality. Kerry said no. Kerry was right on the merits and strategy.

What do the 2004 election results mean for the movement toward marriage equality?
Freedom to Marry
November 3, 2004

Evan Wolfson analyzes the 2004 election and its impact on the marriage equality movement saying, "In a second Bush term, whatever our opponents do, we can and will win, if we engage."

ADVISORY: Advice to Candidates
Freedom to Marry
November 21, 2003

Evan Wolfson discusses how candidates should answer the question about where they stand on marriage equality turning back attacks by their opponents while preserving their "airtime" for the principal themes and issues in their campaign.

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WHERE YOU CAN GO TO LEARN MORE:

Human Rights Campaign and Elections
The Human Rights Campaign responded to the 2004 election.

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THE NUMBERS: POLLING & STATISTICS:

BACKGROUND: Marriage, exit polls and election 2004
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination
November 9, 2004

Marriage played a role in the 2004 election, but not a decisive one. The numbers prove there is no national mandate for the religious right's ideology of homophobia.

  • The National Election Pool's (NEP) Exit Poll revealed that a solid majority — 60% — of American voters favor legal recognition for same-sex couples.
  • It is inaccurate to suggest a direct correlation between "moral values" and opposition to equal civil rights for gays and lesbians, particularly given the strong public support for marriage/civil unions among the electorate and the fact that roughly 45% of Bush voters support either marriage equality or civil unions.

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PUBLICATIONS:

The Democratic Party, "Moral Values" and Gay Rights: The Marriage of Politics and Principle
By Ethan Geto of Geto & deMilly, Inc.
May 27, 2006

Geto refutes the myths of the 2004 election, explains the politics of marriage, and calls for making the case for the freedom to marry with authenticity.

The Money Behind the 2004 Anti-gay Marriage Amendments
National Institute on Money in State Politics
January 27, 2006

The Institute reports who paid for the campaigns promoting the 2004 anti-gay marriage amendments, concluding a majority came from conservative Christian organizations and organized religion.

The Backlash Myth
Human Rights Campaign
May 16, 2005

On the one year anniversary of winning marriage in Massachusetts, the Human Rights Campaign discusses the great advances of the prior 12 months and debunks the backlash myth of the 2004 election.

Midwest incumbents report: Impact of voting against anti-gay marriage amendments on 2004 re-election campaigns
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
January 12, 2005

The Task Force analyzes election results in the midwest in 2004 and the successes of legislators there who stood up for equality.

Voters and Values in the 2004 Elections
Oxford Journals Public Opinion Quarterly
2005

Gary Langer and Jon Cohen write, "A poorly devised exit poll question undermined meaningful analysis of voters’ concerns in the 2004 presidential election. Twenty-two percent of voters picked 'moral values' from a list of 'issues' describing what mattered most in their vote, more than selected any other item. Various commentators have misinterpreted this single data point to conclude that moral values are an ascendant political issue and to credit conservative Christian groups with turning George W. Bush’s popular vote defeat in 2000 into his three million–vote margin of victory in 2004. We suggest, rather, that while morals and values are critical in informing political judgments, they represent personal characteristics and ill-defined policy preferences far more than any discrete political issue."

Same-sex marriage, civil unions and the 2004 presidential election
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
December 10, 2004

"Despite claims to the contrary, same-sex marriage did not cost John Kerry the presidential election."

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NEWS:

Read analyses and news about 2004's election

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ANALYSIS: The wrong thing to do: Clinton's anti-gay advice

Newsweek
November 5, 2004

Newsweek's post-election (November 15th) issue alleges behind-the-scenes advice to Kerry from Clinton: Support anti-gay state amendments to ban marriage equality. Kerry said no. Kerry was right on the merits and strategy.

What do the 2004 election results mean for the movement toward marriage equality?

Freedom to Marry
November 3, 2004

Evan Wolfson analyzes the 2004 election and its impact on the marriage equality movement saying, "In a second Bush term, whatever our opponents do, we can and will win, if we engage."

The Backlash Myth

Human Rights Campaign
May 16, 2005

On the one year anniversary of winning marriage in Massachusetts, the Human Rights Campaign discusses the great advances of the prior 12 months and debunks the backlash myth of the 2004 election.

The Democratic Party, "Moral Values" and Gay Rights: The Marriage of Politics and Principle

By Ethan Geto of Geto & deMilly, Inc.
May 27, 200
6
Geto refutes the myths of the 2004 election, explains the politics of marriage, and calls for making the case for the freedom to marry with authenticity.

Standing Up for Equality
The Money Behind the 2004 Anti-gay Marriage Amendments

National Institute on Money in State Politics
January 27, 2006

The Institute reports who paid for the campaigns promoting the 2004 anti-gay marriage amendments, concluding a majority came from conservative Christian organizations and organized religion.