Skip to comments.Our Gay-Marriage Experiment (Polls show that more Americans favor it now than 15 years ago)
Posted on 08/22/2011 7:36:31 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
One of the few issues on which opinion has moved left over the last few years is same-sex marriage. In 1996, Gallup found that Americans opposed it by a 68 percent to 27 percent margin. Last May, Gallup found Americans in favor by 53 percent to 45 percent. Thats a huge change in 15 years.
Other polls have shown similar movement. Pew Research reported last week that 45 percent favored same-sex marriage and 46 percent were opposed a dead heat. Pew polls in 2008 and 2009 found only 35 percent to 40 percent in favor.
This is an issue on which the differences between age groups are as large as any I can remember. In the May Gallup poll, 70 percent of those under age 35 favored same-sex marriage. Only 39 percent of those over 55 agreed.
So while opinion on one controversial cultural issue, abortion, has not changed much, opinion on same-sex marriage has changed vastly.
Why? One reason is probably that as people learn that friends and relatives are gay, they become more sympathetic to gay rights. We see a similar change in voters willingness to elect openly gay candidates to Congress and other offices.
But increasing support for same-sex marriage causes problems for politicians. When two-thirds of voters were opposed, it didnt: Almost everyone opposed it. Possible exception: Barack Obama, running for state senate in a university-dominated district in 1996.
As a candidate for U.S. senator and president, Obama said he opposed same-sex marriage. As president, he says he still does, but his opinion is evolving.
This may reflect a split between Democratic core constituencies. Affluent liberals overwhelmingly favor same-sex marriage. But most black voters are opposed.
In a 2008 referendum in California, 70 percent of blacks voted against same-sex marriage. A same-sex-marriage bill was defeated this year in Maryland after black Democratic legislators opposed it. Same-sex marriage would be legal in California and Maryland were it not for opposition by black voters.
Mainstream media reporters pepper Republican presidential candidates with questions about the issue but seldom ask Obama about it. But if its a fair question for Republicans, its a fair question for Democrats, as well.
The problem for Republican politicians is not that opposition to same-sex marriage antagonizes gay voters. According to exit polls in the last three presidential elections, gays and lesbians made up just 3 percent of the electorate, and they were one of the few groups that voted for John McCain in 2008 in larger numbers than had voted for George W. Bush in 2004.
The Republicans problem is young voters. Huge majorities of them favor same-sex marriage, and for most of them its simply a no-brainer. They must have been turned off if they were watching the Republican presidential candidates vie with each other in opposing it in the Fox News/Washington Examiner debate in Iowa.
The constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that they supported is never going to get a two-thirds vote in Congress or be ratified by three-quarters of state legislatures. Unless the Supreme Court rules there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, this is an issue that is going to be decided by the states.
Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that it would weaken the institution of the family. Certainly there are problems there: Rising percentages of children are raised by one parent or none, and nearly 50 percent of teenage children in non-college households did not live with both parents. Yet outcomes for children raised in two-parent families are far better than for those who are not.
But as one who favors same-sex marriage for reasons set out in Jonathan Rauchs 2004 book Gay Marriage, I think the institution of the family is less threatened by a few people who want to get married than by the very many more people who get divorced or who have children without getting married at all.
In any case, we now have an experiment going on. Some 11 percent of Americans live in the six states and the District of Columbia that allow same-sex marriage. That would rise to 23 percent if California voters, who narrowly rejected it, switch. Other states may follow. On the other hand, states where blacks and white evangelical Protestants form a majority are unlikely to accept it any time soon.
We will be able to see how things work out and make judgments, without much need for guidance from our presidents or presidential candidates.
Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner
yes Virginia...there is a plot to overthrow the Republic with a Marxist dictatorship...
We can no more pass a law allowing gay marriage than we can pass one allowing gays to procreate anally. A law doesn’t make the sky red or grass purple.
You may be right to a degree, but I think it’s one of exhaustion — you can’t die on every hill and fight every battle - and the left is attacking everywhere. I think some folks have just said “let them have their fag marriage - they won’t like it anyway because these are not committment type folks” — and just given up on fighting the issue.
Not saying that’s right, just a guess as to why this is - as Barone says - one of the very few times where we’ve “moved left.” I think its just battle fatigue.
RE: We can no more pass a law allowing gay marriage than we can pass one allowing gays to procreate anally
That is why gays are asking and clamoring for changes to ADOPTION LAWS.
Yes, just what we need right now.
Another disastrous, stupid, idiotic, insensible, moronic social experiment.
When all of us in the collective that was once the American Republic are compelled by threat of force to recognize two men as being married ... to each other ... then we can all rejoice in yet another triumph for progressivism.
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other."
-- John Adams
Church Attendance In America Is Declining
BS....Every state which held a referendum on the issue said “no gay marriage”.
“thanks to the NFT and NEA propaganda....people are dumber than 15 years ago...”
Indeed. I think the rise of Islam and socialism are in fact God’s judgment on the West for rejecting his Biblical standards in many areas, certainly including but not limited to marriage and family.
I think Vaquero is right.....people are DUMBER! Wonder how many people REALLY know what being gay is?
RE: BS....Every state which held a referendum on the issue said no gay marriage.
Not something to really cheer about. This article does show that a majority of Americans still oppose gay marriage today, but that majority is SHRINKING as the years go by.
Wait another ten years and you just might be UNPLEASNTLY surprised.
It’s not just the left that is pushing this madness. Barone is a self-described conservative. So are many on the National Review staff who are positively GIDDY about gay couplings. For that matter, the whole issue is being promoted in the courts by Ted Olson, who was at one time a big hero here on Free Republic. Bottom line: the ELITES in this country—many of them GOP stalwarts—are out to kill marriage, and they are doing a very good job.
He’s going to come out in favor of gay marriage. He will throw the blacks under the bus. WTF are they going to do, vote for an “evil white Republican?”
Sheep have more self awareness.
1. Take over American schools, kindergarten to graduate school. Indoctrinate and destroy Conservatism.
2. Use unions to hold American business hostage. Destroy incentive and capital.
3. Force homosexuality upon normal Americans. Indoctrinate.
4. Weaken America's ability to defend itself. Protest and Indoctrinate.
5. Use anarchy to overcome opposition.
6. Crush and destroy remaining Conservative opposition through control of all media outlets. Lie, cover-up and indoctrinate.
Working like a charm!
With the destruction of the nuclear family being pushed by these so-called conservatives, who needs liberals? The final goal of absolute dependence on the state will kill true conservatism as well. But God will have the final say.
Exactly. And the gays fight hard against any referendum where “the people” have a say about this. They always lose and they know it.
Exactly. These folks who say they’re “socially liberally but fiscally conservative” don’t seem to acknowledge the basic fact that the latter is impossible without the former.
What bothers me much more than the term “marriage” for homosexuals is when they use the words “husband” or “wife.” “Husband” and “wife” are intrinsically complementary, describing a relationship between people differing in an essential and primary quality. It’s like the relationship between parent and child, not like the relationship between siblings.
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