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Maryland gaming measure could have negative impact on same-sex marriage ballot teferendum

Thursday, August 9, 2012
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s plan to reconvene the state legislature for a special session Thursday to consider adding a voter initiative on approving gaming in the state could contribute to defeating the same-sex marriage bill, according to political analysts.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-Md.)

Pollster Stefan Hankin, the founder and president of the Washington D. C.-based Lincoln Park Strategies, told LGBTQ Nation Wednesday, that having gaming on the November ballot could help opponents defeat same-sex marriage, as gaming will likely overshadow the other measures.

Hankin noted that since the focus of political adverts and campaigning will be on the anti-gaming side — whom traditionally are socially conservative voters — they are likely to vote against gaming, and are the most likely voters to oppose same-sex marriage.

“There could be a swing anywhere from two to four points based on the casino’s being on the ballot. Any time you are dealing with a 50/50 proposition, a point or two can make the difference between passing and not passing,” Hankin said.

It’s a political Catch-22 for O’Malley, who is pushing for the gaming initiative and has signed the same-sex marriage law.

The LGBT media has criticized O’Malley for the move, including Kevin Naff, Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Blade:

[...]But O’Malley’s insistence on a special legislative session … could carry unintended and grave consequences for the state’s gay and lesbian residents. He’s literally gambling with our rights.

If the legislature approves the National Harbor site, the large corporations that are already operating or preparing to operate in the state will spring into action and dump tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to defeat it at the ballot. They will target those who object to gambling on religious grounds — namely conservative black voters in (Prince George) County and conservative whites in the western part of the state.

Those are the same voters most likely to oppose the marriage equality law, which is already approved for the November ballot.

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