GAY MARRIAGE VOTE….Roll Call reports that a vote on gay marriage may be only a few weeks away:

The Senate Republican leadership is aiming for a mid-July vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, forcing Democrats to take a stand on the controversial topic just before the party heads to Boston for its presidential nominating convention.

Since I don’t subscribe to Roll Call I can’t read the rest of the article, but I hope this is true. Gay marriage strikes me as a lose-lose proposition for both parties, but in the end I suspect Republicans have more to lose than Democrats when it comes to banning it via constitutional amendment.

Basically, I figure that voting for the amendment doesn’t do that much for the GOP. It solidifies their support with the Christian Right, but Rove & Co. have been focusing on them so much for the past few years that I think they’re mostly in the bag already. On the other hand, the GOP has the potential to lose a fair amount of the centrist vote from 2000 that bought into the whole “compassionate conservatism” thing and really doesn’t think that amending the constitution in the service of gay bashing was what they were signing up for.

For Democrats, I suspect the downside is much smaller. After all, even in conservative areas they can easily justify a negative vote on principled grounds of not wanting to mess with the constitution.

So bring it on. This seems like a great chance for Democrats to paint Republicans as hopelessly in hock to the Christian Right and painting themselves as simple moderates who think the constitution shouldn’t be revised every time some special interest group needs to be bought off. If John Kerry plays his cards right ? and yes, I know that’s a big if ? this is a great chance to make the Republican party look awfully scary to some important voters.

UPDATE: One more thing. A lot of this depends on liberal activists pressuring Kerry to do the right thing but not pressuring him so strongly that it’s the Democrats who look scary. Let’s let him win some votes on this, OK?

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