New York Times Endorses Marriage Equality on the Ballot

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com October 31 2012 3:16 PM ET

The New York Times editorial board today formally endorsed marriage equality as it appears on the ballot next month in Maine, Maryland, and Washington.

"The freedom to marry is a fundamental right that should not have to be won or defended at the ballot box," says the editorial. "In fact, ballot initiatives are a bad way to write or rewrite laws of any kind. Unfortunately, that is the reality of American politics, which is why same-sex marriage measures on the Nov. 6 ballot in Maine, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota could turn out to be pivotal in the struggle for marriage equality.

The Times editorial points out that marriage equality has never won a ballot referendum, but highlights that this year could be history-making in that capacity. With legislatively approved marriage equality bills pending voter approval in Maryland and Washington, The Times turns its attention to Maine, which it claims "probably has the best chance of winning." According to the editorial, that's because three years ago, when Maine voters rejected a marriage equality bill, "supporters of the freedom to marry went right back to knocking on doors, raising money, honing their arguments and organizing for a new vote this fall to leglize same-sex marriages."

The editorial also addresses the marriage-related ballot initiative in Minnesota, which asks voters to amend the constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Given that the state already has a ban on same-sex marriage, The Times gives Minnesota voters the benefit of the doubt, writing "it is hard to believe that a majority of Minnesotans would opt to place their state so sharply on the wrong side of fairness."

New York legalized marriage equality last year in a bipartisan vote on a bill signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who ran on a platform promising to bring marriage equality to the Empire State. Read the entire editorial from The Times here.