A hat tip to Jim Grinstead at Progressive Nashville for alerting me to this development hours before many GLBT news outlets were carrying the story. The 14-11 vote means that the marriage amendment will not appear on the November ballot in John McCain's home state. The Senate will reconsider the move at a later date.
So how does this play out for the presidential election? On the one hand, it won't be there to fire up social conservatives in Arizona. Since McCain has said he backs the move at the state level, he loses an opportunity to shore up his credibility with the Evangelicals across the country for whom the issue matters a great deal. On the other hand, he is free to address the issue or not as he sees fit. He really wouldn't have much choice but to address it if it were on the Arizona ballot. I wonder whether that will allow him the ambiguity he needs to pick up more moderates and even members of the GLBT community.
Some estimates say that George W. Bush got 23% of the gay vote in 2000 and 2004 with 4% of the electorate identifying as gay. If the election turns out to be close, that might matter. McCain is viewed as more moderate on GLBT issues than Bush, which is why the Human Rights Campaign released this report attempting to show that McCain is no maverick or moderate on issues or sexual orientation and gender identity.
UPDATE: Mr. Kleinheider notes a report the Log Cabin Republicans have recently met with McCain. Future meetings are anticipated. The McCain campaign must be aware of how startlingly well Bush did with the gay vote. He has a real chance to improve on those numbers. It will be interesting to see how much that matters to him.