Marriage ruling will impact 2016, not 2014, campaigns

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Don't expect political fallout from the Supreme Court's action, or inaction, on same-sex marriage — at least not before next year when presidential campaigns get fully into gear.

In this fall's midterm elections, the issue isn't likely to surge to prominence as a result of the court allowing to stand lower court rulings upholding gay marriage — even in the closely contested Senate and governor's races in states immediately affected by court's actions.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker, who had backed the state's ban on same-sex marriage struck down by the federal court, said little about the issue Monday. "For us, It's over in Wisconsin,'' he said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As for a possible constitutional amendment on the issue, Walker said only, "Others will have to talk about the federal level.'' Walker is in a toss-up re-election contest against Democrat Mary Burke, who applauded the Supreme Court's action.

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway called the action a "non-event'' for the November elections. "Voters are focused on other issues in the homestretch, and all of the Democratic candidates in hotly contested swing races are avoiding gay marriage almost as much as they are avoiding President Obama,'' she said.

Races are turning on local issues and the qualities of the candidates, said former Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan. Same-sex marriage isn't on the ballot, "nor is there a readily identifiable proxy on the ballot.'' Impact on races from the Supreme Court action? "I don't see it.''

Same-sex marriage can still be a "wedge issue,'' said CNN political analyst Hilary Rosen, a Democrat. "But the edge of that wedge doesn't cut nearly enough to win elections. Indeed, GOP candidates for marriage have a better shot to win independents if they support it.'' Though some candidates may use the issue to try to turn out conservative voters, "they do so at the peril of getting caught by the moderate middle," Rosen said.

A decade ago, Republicans encouraged a ballot referendum banning same-sex marriage as a way to ensure GOP voters would turn out in droves to pass it — and re-elect President George W. Bush in the process.

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