Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Absent some kind of dramatic last-minute reversal in public opinion, marriage equality looks like a done deal in Maryland.
The latest poll from the Washington Post puts supporters of same-sex marriage with 52 percent of the vote to 43 percent opposed. Maryland's marriage equality law was passed earlier this year, but no marriages will actually take place until it is approved by a majority of voters in the state. Maine and Washington are also facing same-sex marriage referendums, and while no state has yet adopted same-sex marriage rights through a popular vote, as the article accompanying the poll points out, marriage equality is leading in all three states.
Naturally, you don't want to draw too large of a conclusion from a single poll. But Talking Points Memo's Polltracker shows that while the divide narrowed somewhat in early fall, support for same sex marriage in Maryland has grown in recent weeks:
Anti-gay rights groups like the National Organization for Marriage have pinned their hopes on flipping the minority vote by employing conservative black religious leaders as spokespeople in order to discredit the idea of same-sex marriage as a civil right. But among black voters, like other Americans, approval of same-sex marriage rights has been rising.
What anti-gay rights groups are banking on is the idea that the polls don't accurately reflect what people do when they get in the ballot box, and there's been some evidence of that in the past. But given the numbers in Maryland, November 7th may mark the expiration date of NOM's racial wedge strategy.