by Max Brantley
One analysis of the victory for limiting adoption, from the sponsoring Family Council, is on the jump. Bottom line: God wanted to punish queers.
I'd be the first to say you can't underestimate the Family Council's grassroots organization. Opponents had media, but not much by way of grassroots strength and the campaign was way too tardy in getting active. But there's also this interesting angle and it's not just still more anecdotal evidence about confusion concerning what FOR and AGAINST meant on this measure:
Voter turnout nationwide was huge. It was NOT huge in Arkansas. One account I saw said turnout statewide was only about half of registered voters, fairly anemic, and only 70,000 more than the mid-term election of 2006. There were no congressional races worthy of the name to draw voters. In the view of some, liberal voters stayed home disproportionately in Arkansas. Thus the poll numbers on Act 1 that contrasted so sharply with the election outcome. Thus the much higher than expected margin for McCain in Arkansas. Heavy Republican voting translates to heavy social issue voters. Or so the thinking goes.
Finally, there were three initiatives on the ballot that had the numberal 1 in the title. Some enjoyed media support. Who knew which was which? Might that have been a factor?
I'm not ready to argue definitively for any theory. But I think there are contributing factors in the Act 1 outcome in addition to God's message to Jerry Cox that He wanted to marginalize homosexuals.
FAMILY COUNCIL RELEASE
Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act: FOR 57%, AGAINST 43%
Last night, the people of Arkansas passed the Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act. We won! When members of the media and polling organizations said it couldn’t be done—that it wouldn’t pass—voters said differently.
The Adoption Act carried 57% of the vote—an unquestionable margin of victory. This just goes to show that the power of good people acting in unison should not be underestimated. Our opponents poured tens of thousands of dollars into media advertising against us, funded by hefty contributions from the Human Rights Campaign—a notable gay-activist organization—the ACLU, the Gill Foundation in Colorado (gay-rights activist/multi-millionaire Tim Gill), John Stryker—a billionaire and gay-rights activist from Minnesota—and wealthy lawmakers and organizations across the nation. They paid tens of thousands of dollars for polling and campaign assistance. They found “experts” and judges willing to speak out against us. They released videos, held news conferences, formed rallies, and made a notable showing at polling places. By worldly standards, our opponents did everything a group should to win a campaign, but at the end of the day, all the money and all the outsourced expertise just couldn’t compete with the power and the passion of some 2,700 volunteers and 1,000 churches working throughout Arkansas to pass Act 1.
I really believe that it was God’s divine providence and your hard work that made this day possible. From the beginning, I believed that we could pass the Adoption Act handily—but I knew it would only be through prayer and perseverance. Today, after almost 2 years of working on this issue, I can honestly say that we’ve all won. Because of your dedication, children will be placed in better homes. Because of your determination, a gay agenda that our opponents brought to Arkansas has been put on its heels. This is a good day for Arkansas, and you have a right to feel proud to be a part of something so significant.
The passage of Act 1 sends a message that Arkansans will not support an agenda that uses vulnerable children for its political gain. And it serves as a reminder that good things happen when good people act in unison. I—along with many of you, I’m sure—wish that other elections could have turned out as favorably as Act 1; it would have been nice if our campaign against the lottery had been as successful, but that’s a fight we will save for another day, when the legislature convenes. For now, enjoy this victory that—by the grace and power of God—you won. Thank you for standing with us for so long.