By JOE HARRIS
On Tuesday, four states—including Florida—will take up the conservative fight against ObamaCare with ballot measures that ask voters to block the law requiring Americans to have health insurance. In addition to the Sunshine State, Alabama, Montana, and Wyoming could join the 16 states that have already passed similar statutes that say they will not enforce ObamaCare’s “individual mandate.”
According to the Congressional Research Service, these state-level efforts to neuter the mandate will have no lasting impact, since federal law trumps state law, and particularly in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 28 that largely upheld the law.
Four states—Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, and Washington—have ballot measures on Tuesday that ask voters whether to approve (or disapprove) marriage equality. In both Maryland and Washington state, lawmakers have already passed measures that legalize same-sex marriage, but the final approval has been left to state voters. In Maryland, voters are evenly split for and against.
For the second time in four years, Maine voters—who have already overturned similar legislation once, in 2009—will decide upon the question of marriage equality.
In Minnesota, a ballot measure asks, “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?” Supporters of the question—who oppose gay marriage—hope voters will respond in the affirmative.
Marriage equality backers—who oppose the question—have lined up former Vice President Walter Mondale (D-MN), Minnesota-based Fortune 500 corporation General Mills, Thomson Reuters, Target, and U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to come out swinging against it.
Washington state’s Referendum 74 would repeal a marriage equality law signed in February by Gov. Christine Gregoire (D). The law as written “allows same-sex couples to marry, applies marriage laws without regard to gender, and specifies that laws using gender-specific terms like husband and wife include same-sex spouses.”
It also says that “After 2014, existing domestic partnerships are converted to marriages, except for seniors. It preserves the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform or recognize any marriage or accommodate wedding ceremonies. The bill does not affect licensing of religious organizations providing adoption, foster-care, or child placement.”
Major supporters of Washington state marriage equality include Amazon.com, Google, Microsoft, Nike, and Starbucks.
If past performance is any guarantee of future results, things may be bleak: In 32 attempts to pass marriage equality legislation by voter referendum, the effort has never succeeded. But supporters are encouraged that younger voters are more favorably inclined towards the issue.