On CNN, the Family Research Council's Charmaine Yoest falsely claimed that “every single time” a marriage initiative has appeared on the ballot, “it's passed with over 70 percent of the popular vote.” The statement is wrong for two reasons. First, a same-sex marriage ban failed in Arizona in the midterm elections. Second, all of those that did pass did not get 70-percent support -- only two did. Yoest also falsely claimed that those that passed did so “resoundingly.”
On the November 14 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Charmaine Yoest, vice president for communications at the Family Research Council, falsely claimed that “every single time there's been a marriage initiative on the ballot across this country, it's passed with over 70 percent of the popular vote.” In fact, according to CNN, in 2006 alone, ballot initiatives banning marriage rights for same-sex couples passed by over 70 percent of the popular vote in only two states -- Tennessee (81 percent in favor to 19 percent opposed) and South Carolina (78 percent in favor to 22 percent opposed) -- of the eight in which they were on the ballot. Moreover, it is not true that “every single” initiative passed -- the Arizona initiative failed altogether (51 percent to 49 percent).
Yoest appeared to acknowledge the failure of the marriage initiative in Arizona immediately before making her claim about the level of support “every single” initiative received, saying that "[s]even out of eight of the ballot initiatives on marriage in this last election passed resoundingly." She did not explain or reconcile her reversal. And even that statement -- that those that passed did so “resoundingly” -- was false.
In the five other states in which ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage passed in 2006, they received between 52 percent and 63 percent support:
- Colorado: 56 percent in favor, 44 percent opposed
- Idaho: 63 in favor, 37 opposed
- South Dakota: 52 in favor, 48 opposed
- Virginia: 57 in favor, 43 opposed
- Wisconsin: 59 in favor, 41 opposed
Blogger Glenn Greenwald noted in Salon.com that 2006 saw a decline in public support for these initiatives: “Prior to the 2006 midterm election, the closest thing to a sure bet in politics was a statewide referendum to ban same-sex marriages. Twenty states had considered such ballot measures, and 20 states had approved them, all by wide margins.” He added that earlier “gay marriage bans were passed with an average of 71 percent approval.” In 2006, these received an average of about 62 percent approval.
From the November 14 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:
YOEST: You know, with all due respect to [Republican strategist] Ed [Rollins], I just really think this is wishful thinking and a projection of what they want to see out there in the electorate, instead of really looking at the hard numbers.
I mean, let's take the marriage issue, for example. Seven out of eight of the ballot initiatives on marriage in this last election passed resoundingly, even in cases where the Democratic candidates went to -- succeeded, like in Virginia.
So, every single time there's been a marriage initiative on the ballot across this country, it's passed with over 70 percent of the popular vote. So, you know, for -- Rudy Giuliani is not just out of step with the GOP, he's out of step with the American people as a whole. So, I see him having a problem both in the GOP but also if, for some miracle --