In U.S. fight over gay marriage, both sides gearing up for more battles

Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:04am EST
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By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After a watershed year for gay marriage in the United States that included ballot victories and a presidential endorsement, advocates have staked out a handful of states where they believe the next round of fights over same-sex unions can be won.

But any victories will not come easily.

Those who defend marriage as a union of one man and one woman plan to use the November 6 defeats as a rallying cry and fundraising tool. The National Organization for Marriage, the leading group opposed to gay marriage, has called on allies to raise $30 million in the coming year - more than double its haul in 2012.

"Frankly, Americans never really thought that they would have to defend something so obvious as the reality that it takes a man and a woman to make a marriage, and only recently has the threat become clear," Brian Brown, the organization's head, said in an interview.

"We're committed to not letting that happen again, to being outspent in that way. And I think a lot of our donors will step up to the plate, in a way that you haven't seen before, in any future state fights."

This Election Days, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington state approved ballot initiatives legalizing same-sex marriage, marking the first time in U.S. history voters approved gay marriage at the polls, and bringing to nine the number of states allowing gay marriage.

Weeks later, both sides are preparing for more wrenching battles.

In Rhode Island, the last of the New England states where marriage is limited to straight couples, lawmakers are reviving a gay marriage bill that failed last year.   Continued...

Scott Everhart and Jason Welker hold each other before exchanging wedding vows at a comic book retail shop in Manhattan, New York June 20, 2012. REUTERS/Adrees Latif