Could Wednesday’s Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the 1996 law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) impact the outcome of Virginia’s gubernatorial race?
“I think we are going to see gay rights become a far more visible issue, and gay marriage, in this election than we’ve ever seen before,” Bob Holsworth, CBS 6 political analyst, said. He also believes that a lot of people nationally are going to be watching Virginia to see how this issue plays out in the November election.
Conservative blogger John Fredericks believes that if DOMA had been upheld, liberals and the gay community would have turned out in big numbers to support Democrat Terry McAuliffe against Ken Cuccinelli, who supported DOMA.
“If the very law the Gay community so passionately loathes was left to stand, it would have rallied the powerful LGBT lobby into a frenzy of crazed outrage and heightened indignation,” wrote Fredericks.
He concluded that Wednesday's Supreme Court verdict could hand the election to Cuccinelli.
But others say Democrats could use gay rights to motivate voters that have turned out in numbers to elect President Barack Obama, but have otherwise disappeared in off election years.
“So what they really believe is that it’s up to each candidate to mobilize their core supporters and get them to vote in large numbers,” Holsworth said.
“McAuliffe is going to be trying to find the issues that can actually be the wedge issues to get people out there, and I think the Democrats are really going to think that this is going to be an issue, particularly in certain regions of the state and on college campuses. “
“And at the same time, I think Ken Cuccinelli has a strategy in which he wants to try to find a way to try and get people who share these traditional values, who are offended by these decisions to think that something important is at stake in Virginia, and they better vote for him,” Holsworth added.
Although McAuliffe, a supporter of same-sex marriage, said recently that the state’s constitutional definition won't change in his term because of the legislature’s conservative majority, he will certainly target gay voters.
McAuliffe was also recently quoted saying the state would not be able to lure companies by “putting walls up around Virginia.”
“We’ve got to stop this attack on women. . . . We’ve got to stop the attack on gay Virginians. We have to be open and welcoming to everyone,” McAuliffe said in a Washington Post article.
“I think each side is going to be mobilizing folks from now, on," Holsworth said.
In addition to the Virginia race, New Jersey’s gubernatorial election is also expected to garner national attention this year.