With New England now five-sixths on board with same-sex marriage, you figure those planning for campaigns in other states would be embracing what worked up here by way of devising their own strategies. But judging by a new report from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s National Religious Leadership Roundtable, I’m not so sure. The report, by Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, argues at great length for the need to include religious partners in future pro-SSM efforts in California. (Same goes for another new report, on Michigan.) Fine.
But what’s clear from the New England experience is that it was not having pro-SMM religious folks around that made the difference. It was providing assurances that religious institutions opposed to SSM would not be forced to act against their convictions. In short, “marriage equality” wins when coupled with “religious liberty.” If I were organizing an SSM campaign, I’d be looking especially for people who oppose SSM on religious grounds but back it on equality grounds, provided there are religious protections.
Update: At a conference call held by the Center for American Progress to discuss the reports today, Gene Robinson (the gay Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire) independently brought up the importance of religious reassurances in the New Hampshire campaign. From the discussion among the reports’ authors, it seemed clear that this was 1) too new for the reports to have taken account of; and 2) likely to be part of future efforts.