Gay Marriage Debate Key to SF Mayor's Future

Focus on issue could mount with new ballot initiative
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 1, 2009 12:32 PM CDT
In this photo taken on April 29, 2009, Gavin Newsom talks to reporters before an event in Fresno, Calif.   (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)
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(Newser) – As San Francisco’s mayor looks to become California’s next governor, his gay-marriage activism may threaten his success—especially if voters are again asked to decide the issue for themselves, the AP reports. Though all the Democratic candidates support gay marriage, Gavin Newsom has a particularly strong association with the issue: He directed city clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004.

Should Newsom gain the nomination, the debate “would dominate the mainstream, the thinking of most voters, especially those outside the party who may not hold as sympathetic a perception of gay marriage,” said a pollster. And that could prove a “two-edged sword” in a state that voted 52% to 48% against same-sex marriage in November.