Would a slots referendum doom gay marriage?

May 15, 2012

I am very concerned that our elected Democratic leaders in Maryland are missing an extremely important concern this special session of the legislature. The efforts to ram another casino onto the November ballot threaten two extremely important referendum initiatives, namely, the gay marriage referendum, and the Dream Act referendum.

This past Tuesday in North Carolina should be a warning to us all because by a 61-39 margin, voters adopted an anti-gay marriage amendment to that state's constitution. The media and political analysts attribute this overwhelming conservative victory to a massive outpouring of conservative and faith-based voters.

Unfortunately, the situation is even more dangerous in our state for our priorities than in North Carolina. If gambling is on the ballot, leaders of the faith-based community have threatened to fight it tooth and nail. Adding gaming to the equation is like pouring gasoline on a fire and can significantly increase the participation of conservative voters in November.

Worst of all, Penn National Gaming has already shown they were willing to spend tens of millions of dollars during the Question A campaign in Anne Arundel County. When the "conservative" voters, who by and large are anti-gambling, anti-gay rights and anti-Dream Act, are in essence "partnered" with unlimited funding, we are facing a huge defeat in November.

The answer is straightforward. Whether one is for or against adding a gambling casino toPrince George's County, legislation on this decision should wait until 2013 and should not be part of any special session this year, whether now or in August.

Joe Franco, Laurel

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