The San Antonio Express-News reports that, earlier today while addressing the paper’s editorial board, State Senator Wendy Davis (the presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor) explicitly announced her support for gay marriage for the first time. Further, she expressed her opposition to continued support of Texas’ Defense of Marriage Act against suits in Federal Courts and called on her opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, to stop defending what she called an unconstitutional law.
“It’s my strong belief that when people love each other and are desirous of creating a committed relationship with each other that they should be allowed to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation,” Davis told the paper. “I think it’s important, and I think that people across this country are evolving on [gay marriage] and moving in a direction that demonstrates support for it, so I think it is time to re-open that conversation and ask Texans where they are on it to see if that’s something that we might change legislatively if it doesn’t happen constitutionally.”
The news quickly reached back to Abbott’s campaign, who were very keen to criticize the Davis campaign. A spokesperson called support for gay marriage “the latest whim of the day,” and blasted Davis for instituting “Obama-style” approach to politics. For better or for worse, the idea of state officials picking not a defend state laws or provisions is a tradition that has recently been explicitly condoned by the Supreme Court, specifically in the 2013 case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, wherein both the Governor and Attorney General of California declined to defend the constitutionality of Prop 8.
This revelation on the part of Davis is nothing new, given what she has been doing over the past few days. Exactly one week ago, a big bombshell was dropped that she supported Open Carry of handguns in public spaces. Shortly thereafter, she clarified her positions on a plethora of other issues, including Pre-K, marijuana and abortion rights.
Positioning one’s self strong on a progressive cause such as this one is very important to placate an increasingly unruly left-wing base. In 2010, Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Bill White clarified that he opposed gay marriage, much to the chagrin of activists within the party. Given that many of Davis’ advisers are the same who gave White this bad advice, we all held our breath for a while.
However, the United States has seen immense progress in the past four years. 2010 polls showed roughly 49% support for gay marriage, whereas 2013 polls put the number closer to 58%. I would predict that the number will climb over 60% by the end of this year, as States see their judiciaries throw out unconstitutional bans on gay marriage like falling dominoes. Democrats –and, increasingly, Republicans– already have and will continue to be on the correct side of history. I am happy, for one, Davis decided to cross that bridge today.