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Study: 97 Percent of Lawmakers Who Voted for Marriage Equality in NY and WA and Ran in 2012 Were Reelected

A new study from Freedom to Marry and Third Way destroys the talking points of NOM and other groups who continue to say that lawmakers who vote for equality lose their elections.

Freedom to Marry: Freedomtomarry

Based on election results in the two states that passed freedom to marry laws in the 2011-2012 legislative cycle and whose members stood for reelection — New York and Washington — the analysis, “Pro-Marriage Legislators Win Elections,” finds that pro-marriage legislators who ran for reelection won 97% of the time. This is significantly higher than the national incumbent re-election average of 90% in 2012.

The data:

Do voters punish legislators who support marriage for gay couples? A look at the data from the 2012 election shows that the answer is NO.

  • 97% of those who voted for marriage and ran for reelection won, compared to only 90% of incumbent state legislators nationwide.
  • Of the 5 who lost, 2 were under investigation for corruption or misuse of taxpayer dollars, so only 3 of 146 lost without being under an ethics cloud (2%).
  • At least 85% of the 13 Republican legislators who voted for marriage since the 2010 election did not lose their seats because of it.

Said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry:

“Polls have shown that a growing majority of Americans support ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage – and now we know that Americans vote that way at the polls, too. Lawmakers who cast votes for the freedom to marry get voted back in – and on both side of the aisle. Elected officials can vote for the freedom to marry and be on the right side of history, secure that supporting the freedom to marry is not only the right vote to cast; it’s also the politically smart vote to take.”

Added Jon Cowan, President of Third Way:

“The 2012 election illustrated that moderate Americans have largely completed their journey on this issue and now see a lawmaker’s support for marriage as a reason to vote for, not against, that candidate. This latest comprehensive study of the fate of state legislators who voted for marriage makes evident that pro-marriage legislators of both parties can win in districts that span the regional and ideological spectrum.”

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