After the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in the Golden Gate State last week, God-o-Meter called Gary Marx, a Bush-Cheney ’04 hand who helped lead the campaign’s effort to turn the 2004 legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts to the president’s electoral advantage. As Ralph Reed’s deputy in the Bush reelection effort, Marx–whose official title was director of conservative coalitions–was a top liaison to religious conservatives.
Here’s what he told God-o-Meter:
The decision triggered flashbacks to the Massachusetts decision four years ago at the same time [in the campaign cycle]. Any smart strategist in the Obama campaign has to be seeing a dark cloud…. Barack Obama’s strategists should call up John Kerry’s team and say, ‘how did you guys fumble this—we want to try not to do what you guys did.
But will the California court automatically benefit John McCain? Or does he actively have to take advantage of the moment?
It’s completely dependent on McCain taking advantage of this opportunity to say what he’s already said. He’s already supported the Arizona marriage amendment and was the chair of the Arizona traditional marriage campaign. It’s not a question of him doing anything new with his policies as it relates to the states. It’s a matter of making a rigorous defense of traditional marriage and talking about judicial activism. Millions upon million of Californian’s overwhelming supported Prop 22 [California’s gay marriage ban] a few years ago. This is a very easy opportunity for [McCain].
A very easy opportunity? McCain, who personally hasn’t said peep about the decision in the four days since it wasn’t handed down, clearly doesn’t see it that way. So an opportunity for McCain to improve strained relations with religious conservatives is becoming the opposite: a moment when McCain’s conspicuous silence on an issue important to conservative Christian activists is driving the man and the movement further apart.