Bruising gay-marriage showdowns likely in 5 states

March 8, 2012 - 1:55 PM

Foes and supporters of same-sex marriage are gearing up for five costly and bruising statewide showdowns in the coming months on an issue that evenly divides Americans.

It's an election subplot sure to stir up heated emotions — even beyond the confines of North Carolina, Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington. National advocacy groups will be deeply engaged, and advertising is likely to surface from each side that outrages the other.

Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, a major fundraiser for opponents of gay marriage, believes his side can win all the elections.

Gay-marriage supporters, in contrast, believe it's the best chance yet to break a long losing streak. Since 1998, 31 states have had ballot measures about same-sex marriage, and in every state the opponents ended up prevailing.