Leftist blogs say the election turned on “gay marriage,” the prominent rightist blogs say it didn’t (Kos and Little Green Footballs provide an example). The election was close, and turned on any number of things. The reason for the dispute over this particular point, it seems, is that leftists believe the interpretation irrefutably discredits the outcome as an expression of bigotry, and the mainstream right won’t argue the contrary.
The rightwing reluctance to argue the issue shows that there’s a lot of work ahead for opponents of the movement to normalize homosexuality. Experience since the ’60s shows that “the people” can’t act as a sort of deus ex machina that saves the country from the inability or unwillingness of public figures to present persuasive arguments for traditional moral ties and standards. So the struggle to preserve the family as a natural and fundamental social institution (and therefore the state as an add-on rather than the ultimate basis of social order) has a very long way to go. In a country with as many experts, functionaries and judges as America the popular sense of reality can’t stand up to the outlook of the people who run things, referenda to the contrary notwithstanding. Articulate principle is needed as well, and at this point it doesn’t have much of a presence in public life.