Same-Sex Marriage

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Is California About to Become a Democratic Wonderland?

California Democrats have ample reason to smile. Their party appears to be on the way to gaining a supermajority in both legislative houses — the first time for either party party since 1933, and a tax increase the governor has made the centerpiece of his plan to stave off further budget cuts looks to be on its way to passing as well.

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at L.A. City Hall on the state budget earlier this year. (Kevork Djansezian: Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown, a big winner yesterday, at LA City Hall earlier this year. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

“Everything that the Democrats did is historic,” John Myers told KQED’s Forum with Michael Krasny on Wednesday. “The governor did something that did not happen the last eight times someone [tried] to raise taxes on a statewide ballot. Last night he got a tax increase, almost I would call a general tax increase, though it was supposedly earmarked for schools.

“If these numbers hold, it’s a very fascinating dynamic for Democrats in California and for a Democratic governor here in Sacramento.”

Democrats might think the word “fascinating” an understatement. After all, doesn’t a supermajority mean they can push through tax increases without the help of intransigent Republicans? (Proposition 13 requires tax hikes to be passed by a two-thirds majority of both houses, and Republicans have shown no willingness to play ball.) Continue reading

What’s Keeping Obama From Embracing Same-Sex Marriage?

President Obama gives a speech on jobs.

Would President Obama embrace same-sex marriage were it not for the electoral college? Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Getty Images

Some marriage-equality supporters are calling for President Obama to make support of legalized same-sex marriage part of his platform. After all, Obama’s stance on the issue has “evolved” from saying marriage should be between a man and a woman in 2008 to last year’s repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and support of repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. This was the topic of today’s 9:00 a.m. episode of Forum.

Of note is the opening exchange between guests Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, and Ed Espinoza, Democratic political consultant:

Evan Wolfson: … A vast majority of Democrats support the freedom to marry, but so do a majority of Independents, so do a majority of Catholics, so do a younger voters across the spectrum, including even Republicans and conservatives. So the President, by getting in line with the majority of Americans and the vast majority of Democrats and Independents, will be really doing something that his supporters, the people who are reachable, the people who want to be with him, want to see.

Michael Krasny: Do you agree Ed Espinoza that the majority are in support of same sex marriage and that the president, really, if he goes for this on the campaign platform will be speaking to the majority of Americans?

Ed Espinoza: I agree with the part that support for marriage equality is growing. I haven’t seen numbers recently to know if it’s a majority, though I will take Evan at his word… I can certainly belief that it is. As far as whether or not it’s good politics… there’s one hurdle here… and it’s that we don’t have national elections in this country. We have state-by-state elections. So long as we’re using this old dinosaur of the Electoral College and we don’t have a popular vote, we have got to weigh the outcome, the potential outcomes, of elections a little bit differently because some states have greater impact than others. And in some of these particular swing states, we don’t have a majority support just yet…”

Makes you wonder just how different platforms would be — from both parties — if the U.S. opted for the popular vote.

Listen to the full half-hour segment here: