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For voters, marriage issue still packs punch

In Rhode Island, New Hampshire and New York, several state races pits candidates against each other, with same-sex marriage as an important factor.

Based on the results in primaries last week in three states, traditional marriage still remains a strong issue for voters.

In Rhode Island, a group known as the National Organization for Marriage claimed it scored a ???massacre??? in helping deny renomination to five of six Democratic state senators who voted for same-sex marriage in the Ocean State.

Of the six senators the group targeted, only one???Adam Satchell of West Warwick???emerged triumphant after a spirited primary challenge based on his marriage vote. Rhode Island recognizes civil unions between same-sex couples but still maintains a definition of marriage as a union between man and woman.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire has enacted same-sex marriage and Democratic Gov. John Lynch signed the new definition into law in 2009.

Opponents of same sex marriage have never given up the fight and two years ago they offered HR 1590 to overturn the new definition of marriage. It failed, but two of the Republicans who backed it in the legislature???Peter Bolster and David Welch???both lost their bids for renomination last week.

And in New York, the major primary news is a story that has yet to have its conclusion written: the fate of two Republican state senators who broke party ranks to support Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the senate Democrats to enact same-sex marriage. Republicans control the senate 33 seats to 29 for the Democrats.

In the upstate 43rd District, State Sen. Roy McDonald is trailing his conservative opponent, Saratoga town clerk Kathleen Marchione by 136 votes. As of press time, there were about 1,700 absentee ballots remaining to be counted.

In the Long Island-area 41st District, moderate State Sen. Steve Saland is clinging to a razor-thin lead of 42 votes over Neil DiCarlo, a strong cultural conservative who focused his campaign almost exclusively on Saland???s marriage position.

What makes this race particularly stunning is DiCarlo himself. Where Marchione is a well-known party fixture who holds an important office, DiCarlo holds no office and, two years ago, lost the GOP primary for Congress to Rep. Nan Hayworth.

In addition, DiCarlo does not live in the senate district in which he ran, although one does not have to be a resident in order to seek a legislative seat in the Empire State.

As of press time, 1,000 votes remained to be counted in the DiCarlo-Saland contest. Regardless of the eventual outcome of the Republican primaries, both McDonald and Saland will be on the November ballots as the nominees of the Independence Party, while Marchione and DiCarlo will be on the ballot as the standard-bearers of the Conservative Party.

By far the strangest senate race is in New York???s 29th District (Brooklyn), where Democratic Sen. Carl Kruger resigned in December before pleading guilty to bribery charges. He later received a seven-year sentence.

In a subsequent special election, Kings County Republican Vice Chairman David Storobin won a stunning upset similar to that of fellow Brooklyn GOPer Bob Turner in the 2011 special election for the former seat of Anthony Weiner.

Storobin, however, was a victim of redistricting and is now seeking re-election in the new and heavily Democratic 17th District.

His Democratic opponent is former City Councilman Simcha Felder, who, interestingly, is opposed to same sex marriage and praised Paul Ryan as ???a terrific pick for vice president??? and someone whose knowledge of fiscal policy ???will be an asset to a Romney administration.???

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John Gizzi has come to be known as ???the man who knows everyone in Washington??? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on what???s going on in the nation???s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as ???Gizzi on Politics??? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of ???Gizzi???s America,??? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. John???s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com