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NYT: Across many decades and hundreds of campaigns at every level of government, L.G.B.T. rights have been a point of bitter debate, often benefiting Republican politicians in conservative areas where voters pushed back at social change. In recent years, though, Democrats have increasingly sought to turn their advocacy for L.G.B.T. people into an advantage.

Public opinion polls leave no doubt that a significant majority of Americans support laws protecting L.G.B.T. people from discrimination and approve of same-sex marriage. But that doesn’t mean that they prioritize the issue and punish politicians with contrary views. The results of many elections suggest that they don’t.

I think that’s changing, and 2016 could be the proof of it. In several closely fought races around the country, candidates’ actions and comments regarding gay people have come to the fore and come to define them. Democrat Murphy’s Florida contest against Republican John Mica, now in his 12th term, is only one of them.

The outcomes of two of the most competitive gubernatorial contests — in Indiana and North Carolina — could be affected by voters’ feelings about how the candidates have handled L.G.B.T. rights. That’s especially true in North Carolina, where Gov. Pat McCrory is being hammered for a shockingly regressive measure that he signed into law last March.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/opinion/sunday/the-big-gay-sway.html?