GAY MARRIAGE IN CALIFORNIA….Californians got some good news today, but it came with an ambiguous lesson:

Infighting, voter fatigue and a slow fundraising start appear to have plagued efforts by conservatives to place a measure on the 2006 ballot banning same-sex marriage in California.

….One group,, gathered fewer than half the 598,000 signatures required by Tuesday’s deadline. Organizers said they might still decide to press ahead for the ballot next November, but a confluence of events has made it unlikely.

While the battle against same-sex marriage was an issue to conservatives this summer, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s September veto of a bill to legalize such unions defused the issue for the time being.

….”Everything we need to educate voters about the need for such a measure has been temporarily taken away,” said’s legal counsel, Andrew Pugno. “I think it is very unlikely there will be any measure on the ballot this coming year.”

Even the initiative’s supporters concede that Arnold’s veto ? which I mocked earlier this year ? is the main reason they can’t drum up support for a complete ban on gay marriage. In the end, Arnold’s political cowardice may deserve the bulk of the credit for the failure of gay marriage opponents to make further inroads in California.

So does this mean that keeping a slightly lower profile and relying instead on multi-decade trends running in our favor would actually help the gay marriage cause in the long run? It’s not an argument I’m very comfortable with, but news like this suggests it might. Hmmph.