Gay Marriage: Forgetting Arizona

Remember this? A blast from the past from Stateline: Arizona in 2006 became the first and only state so far to reject a ballot initiative to ...
by | December 9, 2009

Remember this? A blast from the past from Stateline:

Arizona in 2006 became the first and only state so far to reject a ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage.

But, look what New York State Catholic Conference Executive Director Richard E. Barnes is saying, via the Times-Union:

"In the last several years, voters in 31 states have taken up the issue of changing the timeless definition of marriage and 31 times they have voted to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman

Or, what a writer in the Washington Post is saying:

We must read the writing on the wall: Thirty-one votes, 31 rejections.

Or, what Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe is saying:

Maine was the 31st state in which the legal definition of marriage was put to a vote, and the 31st in which voters rejected gay marriage.

Strangely, of these statements, the only one I'd say is unequivocally inaccurate is the one in the Washington Post.

The complexity here is that Arizona voted to reject a gay marriage ban in 2006, but then voted to approve a gay marriage ban in 2008. So, there definitely haven't been 31 votes on gay marriage. But, you could say, with technical accuracy, that gay marriage has been voted on in 31 states and that 31 states have rejected it. If you want to tell the truth and the whole truth, it's probably best to say that gay marriage has been voted on 32 times in 31 states and 31 times it has been rejected.

Then again, California has voted on gay marriage twice -- in 2000 and 2008. So maybe it has been voted on 33 times in 31 states and 32 times it has been rejected? Now I'm just confused.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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