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Did Stephanie step in it or don’t out-of-state bloggers understand SD politics?

Kos is upset that Stephanie Herseth didn’t condemn the idea of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife. Stephanie said she “agree[s] with the president on this issue. Marriage should be between a man and a woman.” According to Kos, she subsequently backed off a bit, saying she doesn’t want it to distract from important issues. (Interestingly, I do not see either statement at Stephanie’s web site.)

Kos and others are thinking of viewing this as a litmus test. Hey guys, face reality. The simple fact is one of the quickest ways to start tanking Herseth’s campaign is to come out now and oppose the amendment. For the last two years, she’s been hit repeatedly because of contributions from Emily’s List (in South Dakota, that makes her an “abortionist”). Coming out against the amendment now would simply add a boulder to that side of the scale (I can already imagine the “she must be a lesbian” whispering campaign that would start).

Stephanie’s right that there are a helluva lot more issues out there of crucial importance. Viewing the amendment as a litmus test is the last thing to do. Not supporting Stephanie is a negative on a whole range of issues. If the issue is that important to you, look at her opponent. He co-sponsored proposed state legislation that would have made civil unions, domestic partnerships, or other “quasi-marital relationship” invalid and provide that any such relationship “does not confer any legal benefit or privilege of marriage allowed under state law.” While that bill was killed in committee, with Stephanie you at least may have a chance of fighting the amendment in Congress, an option that absolutely will not exist if her opponent is elected.

Those of you who don’t live here don’t understand how truly outnumbered a “progressive on the prairie” is. Picking the battles to fight and how are key to survival.

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