Poll: Gay Marriage Support Growing Quickly

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Homosexuality, Marriage, Polls, Religion, Sexuality

I’m telling you, it’s going to happen one way or another, and now it seems to be tipping away from civil unions and towards full marriage rights.

In fact, a new NYTimes/CBS poll reveals that…

  • In March, 35% thought same sex couples should have no legal recognition. That numbers has dropped 7% since then.
  • 69% of liberals support gay marriage, while only 28% of conservatives support it. But when you add that 28% with the 28% who favor civil unions, well, 56% of conservatives are for some sort of recognition.
  • While only 31% of those over 40 support gay marriage, 57% of those under 40 support it. And that’s really all you need to know to realize this will happen sooner or later.

But hey, Republicans should keep fighting it and see if that’ll work.

OR…they could realize that this issue is over and move on.

More as it develops…


This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 and is filed under Homosexuality, Marriage, Polls, Religion, Sexuality. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

35 Responses to “Poll: Gay Marriage Support Growing Quickly”

  1. michael reynolds Says:

    This goes to the core insanity of the GOP belief that if they’ll only become still more conservative the country will welcome them back with open arms.

    They’re like pimply nerds chasing the prom queen and thinking, “Maybe if I show her my collection of Ewok action figures . . .”

    Gay marriage is a loser for them now. They bet wrong on civil rights, they bet wrong on abortion, they bet wrong on Terri Schiavo, immigration, now gat rights . . . This is the meltdown of the GOP.

    They are finished as a national party. I suspect within a few years we’ll have three parties: the Democrats, the Moneywhigs, and the Dixiecans.

  2. Tillyosu Says:

    And yet, gay marriage consistently loses at the ballot box…even in California!

    I suspect gay marriage is a lot like school vouchers; people voice support for it when they’re on the phone with pollsters or at cocktail parties, but when they get to the privacy of the ballot box well…that’s a different matter.

  3. michael reynolds Says:

    Tilly:

    Well, I guess we’ll see, won’t we? In 1968 Nixon thought race-baiting was smart politics. And now you guys can’t get a black vote anywhere.

    You thought Schiavo would work for you. And yet: not so much. A part of the reason we now run the country.

    You guys always think you’re right in your little bigotries and crazinesses. But then we win: civil rights, women’s rights, abortion, immigration, and already 67% favor either either gay marriage or the near-equivalent.

    Just keep imagining that everyone else is secretly just like you. The GOP is at 21%. But the other 79% are just pretending not to think like you.

  4. Simon Says:

    Tillyosu, the problem is quite simply that it doesn’t matter how many state referenda pass. There are five votes on the (federal) Supreme Court to strike them all down on the theory that the equal protection clause forbids them — there’s a clear, straight (no pun intended) line running through Roemer and Lawrence. No matter what you and I may think about same sex marriage or upending the traditional understanding of marriage in anglo-American society, this it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen soon, and there’s nothing we can do about it. As Justin alludes to (albeit from a very different perspective: he supports the change, I think it’s fair to say) It’s time to stop throwing good money after bad.

  5. Simon Says:

    Sorry, this is not this it’s.

  6. michael reynolds Says:

    Simon:

    I find I’m growing bored with cheap-shotting you, and I wonder if you feel the same.

    I propose a truce during which we will continue to disagree but do so civilly.

  7. ExiledIndependent Says:

    Justin, part of your error in logic is that you assume a person’s views don’t change as they mature. As people get older, more experienced, really engage in what it means to become a head of a household, opinions shift dramatically. This is why we’ll continue to see numbers like this, and continue to see ballot legislation voted down. If we’re the same at age 35 as we are at age 20, there is something significantly wrong. Again, all a conservative is is a liberal with a wife and two kids.

  8. Kevin Jackson Says:

    Exiled-
    The flaw in your logic is that while people who start as bigots often stay that way, those who have matured out of those beliefs rarely return and those who start more open minded rarely turn to the dark side. The long term history of humanity is toward more acceptance of others who are different which is why the long term trend is so troubling to a party based on not accepting anyone but themselves.

    While you are on witty descriptions of philosophies, my father in law after a life of observing people came up with one. Republicans don’t like other people.

  9. rachel Says:

    “Again, all a conservative is is a liberal with a wife and two kids.”

    What happens when one of those kids turns out to be gay? Perhaps something like this:

    By Jennifer Vigil
    UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

    September 20, 2007

    A tearful Mayor Jerry Sanders made a dramatic shift yesterday, explaining that he can no longer oppose same-sex marriages because he does not want to deny justice to people like his daughter, who is a lesbian…

  10. Justin Gardner Says:

    Exiled, didn’t you say the same thing in another post?

    My logic isn’t flawed. People’s social beliefs rarely change THAT drastically from the time they’re young to the time they grow up. You think people who favored interracial marriage back in 1968 grew up and were opposed to it in vastly different numbers? Of course not.

  11. Greatest Hits: Apr. 29, 2009 | Whatever Is Right Says:

    [...] Support for gay marriage rising rapidly – Justin Gardner (Donklephant) [...]

  12. Mike A. Says:

    EI,

    “Justin, part of your error in logic is that you assume a person’s views don’t change as they mature…..Again, all a conservative is is a liberal with a wife and two kids.”

    Agreed with the above, but you also must take into account more young people, typically socially liberal, entering the voting booth while the general population ages.

  13. TerenceC Says:

    I don’t even see “GM” as a political issue anymore – a social issue needing clarification certainly, but no longer a strong wedge issue. I mean who really cares anyway? Frankly it’s no one’s business unless civil rights are being violated – which they are – necessitating the clarification.

    Since Falwell died, Ted was outed, Pat becoming increasingly irrational, and Rick W doesn’t even want to discuss it – the opposition seems to have run out of steam finally. Homosexuality has been with human civilization since the beginning – it’s only reason for existence politically these past few decades was due to the “divide and conquer” strategy of the dominant political power.

    I would prefer issues of personal morality be dealt with on a personal level between the parties involved, and leave political discourse to substantial issues that will move the USA ahead rather than stuck in the past.

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

  14. J. Harden Says:

    People’s social beliefs rarely change THAT drastically from the time they’re young to the time they grow up.

    Having children and responsibilities certainly has the effect of decreasing the amount hedonistic behavior, if not supplanting nihilism with any true values. Of course, all we have to do is look at the “Most Disgusting Generation”, the babyboomers, to see this dynamic in action. Did they change with age — yes, of course — they became ever so slightly less personally revolting and their personal hygiene got marginally better. But at their core, they remain pampered self-absorbed babies.

  15. Justin Gardner Says:

    Glad you got your say in J. You’re so much better than them. Good for you.

  16. Simon Says:

    Michael, enthusiastically agreed.

    ExiledIndependent, that’s a criticism I’ve made of Justin before, but in this instance, I think it’s inapt. Not for the reason Kevin mentions (it’s a conceit to characterize all opposition to same-sex marriage in broad brushstrokes as bigoted), but rather, either because Justin’s correct that people’s views don’t change drastically on that issue as they grow older, or, if they do, because the deal will already be done by the time.

    Terence, I think it would profit you to examine the context of that quote from Jefferson. The whole letter is available here, for example. Jefferson expressly notes that the passage you quote was written a half-century earlier in his life, the product of a less mature mind, and acknowledges that the conclusion may be infirm (“[t]hey were written at a time of life when I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way. This must be the apology, if you find the conclusions bolder than historical facts and principles will warrant”). Moreover, when we reach the passage you quote, we discover it hedged in a conditional statement: “If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.” Jefferson was making a positive claim about the nature and content of the common law, not a normative statement about what law ought to be, and he was making it in the face (by his own admission) of such luminaries as Coke and Blackstone.

    Even if Jefferson was right, however, I suspect you’re placing more load on the quote than it can bear. Jefferson spoke only of the content of the common law, and that has never thought to limit what the legislature may enact as statutory law; if anyone had ever thought so, we would not have maxims governing the interaction of statutes with contrary common law, for instance that statutes in derogation of the common law are to be construed narrowly. Indeed, if the legislature is limited by the content of the common law, it is all-but superfluous! No, the legislature can contract, expand, and otherwise override the common law as it sees fit – even when doing so is profoundly misguided, as Blackstone admitted: “if the parliament will positively enact a thing to be done which is unreasonable, I know of no power that can control it….” 1 W. Blackstone Commentaries on the Laws of England 91 (1769). And even if all that were not so, we are talking only about what the states can do: “[t]here is no federal general common law. Congress has no power to declare substantive rules of common law applicable in a State, whether they be local in their nature or ‘general,’ be they commercial law or a part of the law of torts. And no clause in the Constitution purports to confer such a power upon the federal courts.” Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78 (1938). To be sure, the states are now bound by the establishment and free exercise clauses, and may blunder into deeper thickets of federal regulation (federal money can and usually will come with strings attached, see South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U.S. 203 (1987); Michael Stokes Paulson, A Government of Adequate Powers, 31 Harv. J. of L. & P.P. 991, 1000 (2008), and when it doesn’t, a state or other grantee may become addicted to the revenue stream and thus susceptible to Congressional extortion, see Rumsfeld v. FAIR, Inc., 547 U.S. 47 (2006)), but they are certainly not limited by the musings on the common law of a young law student in the pre-revolutionary colonies, even one who went on to be Thomas Jefferson.

  17. J. Harden Says:

    Well, not all of them Justin — just the dirty hippies. I was simply agreeing with your hypothesis that people don’t change their stripes that much with time. I don’t think our generation is really any better as your poll would indicate. Luckily for me and my family, there are still places in the country that are more or less insulated from the incessant cultural atrophy and slouching toward Gomorrah.

  18. The Maine View Says:

    “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.”

    Winston Churchill

  19. mike mcEachran Says:

    Exiled – you miss an important point in your theory that people get more conservative as they get older, therefore they change from youthful tolerance of gay marriage to mature opposition. Intolerance is a result of a lack of contact, it is the result of a great unknow – like interracial marriage, people fear it becuase they haven’t seen it before. As tolerance grows, as gay marriages happens, as more people older and younger are exposed to gay couples and realize that the walls of society don’t come tumbling down, the more they will lose their desire to meddle in other peoples lives. The evolving mindset is not a result of immature brains. It is the result of cultural evolution. It is inevitable and it will be permanent. History says so.

  20. mike mcEachran Says:

    Maine View – your implicit point, I take it, is that opposing gay marriage is an inherently conservative point of view, as Churchill describes it. I positively disagree. Conservatism, it seems to me, requires me to keep out of other peoples lives. Opposing gay marriage is just bigotry, and I don’t think conservatism and bigotry are synonymous.

  21. Simon Says:

    Mike, the conflation of opposition to same-sex marriage with homophobia, and the suggestion that only the latter can explain the former, is a conceit. conservatism, it should also seem to you, requires you to give due deference to tradition and to be concerned about making radical changes to long-established custom based on abstract theories and ideals (whether high flown or low born). Those values — which are the bedrock of conservatism, its sine qua non no matter what else has come to be associated with it — can also lead one to oppose the legalization of gay marriage; it doesn’t have to have anything to do with bigotry. Indeed, I would suggest that if there aren’t a few customs of which you might be dubious if you were to make the world anew, but to which you nevertheless assent on the basis of tradition, I’d suggest you’re not really much of a conservative. It’s my view that the state should ordinarily stay out of the private lives of mutually-consenting citizens, although that is a rule of thumb not a mandate (no one ought to suggest, for example, that the state may not regulate domestic violence until the battered spouse decides to leave, and as we discussed not long ago, few would accept Mill’s principle of 3d party harm as a prerequisite to law as sound), but leaving people – including gays and lesbians – to do what they will with one another is very different to fundamentally changing the nature of a deeply-rooted institution.

  22. Kevin Says:

    Simon wrote
    Kevin mentions (it’s a conceit to characterize all opposition to same-sex marriage in broad brushstrokes as bigoted),

    One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

    Realizing that hyperbole seeps into almost al arguments, I don’t see it here.
    I really don’t see how it would not be an apt description. Tolerance would say, it’s not my cup of tea but it’s not my right to lead someone else’s life.

    If we were truly out to “defend” marriage it seems that we would outlaw marriage in the Red States because Massachusetts has a lower divorce rate as do atheists when compared to evangelicals.

    Curious as to how Jefferson would be treated by the Limbaugh wing if he were alive today and imagine it would be ugly.

  23. Simon Says:

    Quoting the definition of bigotry doesn’t help you, Kevin. I know what the word means, and I assume everyone else here does, too. What I’m telling you that it is not the only reason to oppose same-sex marriage, and that isn’t so. Personally, I think the vegas-style “drive through weddings” are at least as much of an affront to the institution of marriage as same-sex marriage, if not more so – but unless you believe in the inexorable ratchet theory, that does not compel the conclusion that same-sex marriage should be permitted. One can just as well conclude we should not do more damage, and one might even conclude we should try to repair some of the damage. I do think that states should require a reasonable waiting period for a marriage license, which would end the vegas thing. And at the other end, you mention divorce, well, guess what? Most of the people who are against legalizing same-sex marriage were also against no-fault divorce, and some of us are inclined to constrict it again, if only a little.

  24. Kevin Says:

    Simon-
    The definition was to show that it fit. I think it does.

    I think marriage is less important than people give it credit personally. But it is their call and I don’t have a right to impose their views on others. (Unless they can show harm)

    My wife and I have been married 23 years and we felt the marriage was just a social convention. We were “together” before anyone said any words. And it became no more valid, when the ceremony was over. We don’t believe in magic.

    I don’t know why the states can’t have a legal compact that all could get and that defines a legal entity (since the rights are the most important thing here) Then no church would be forced to do something against their “conscience” but they could not dictate to all of society that it be forced to follow theirs either. If you make a system where someone else had less rights than you you don’t have liberty and you do have discrimination. The power of the church to dictate to others including those who don’t buy what their selling has a pretty horrible track record.

    There are all kinds of affronts for me. The worst for me are politicians touting family values when I can’t think of any field that does more to guarantee that you won’t be with your family most of the time. I also have huge problems with people like Limbaugh and Newt who have a horrible track record in marriage and as human beings trying to tell me or anyone else how to live their lives. The GOP would do well to recognize the small group that they must have who actually haven’t gotten divorced (often several times) so that at least their spokesman have some credibility.

    As to divorce, I don’t think the state should be in the business of keeping people together who don’t want to be or shouldn’t be. Their issues weren’t with the laws, they were with their commitment. If we could get them to stop believing perhaps we could have more stable marriages. :-)

  25. Simon Says:

    Kevin, the definition was to show that you thought I didn’t understand the meaning of the word. I do, and it doesn’t fit, as I’ve demonstrated. You can make the claim that some or even many of those who are against same-sex marriage are motivated by bigotry; what you cannot assert is that, as Mike put it, “[o]pposing gay marriage is just bigotry,” i.e. that the two are one and the same and that there is no other reason why anyone is not in favor of it.

    I genuinely pity you and your wife if that’s truly your view of marriage. I hope you come to a more fulfilling understanding in the fullness of time. What’s ironic, of course, is that you apparently believe in gay marriage, but evidently not in marriage itself! It seems that some same-sex couples – those who want to get married – have a better understanding than some straight couples.

  26. mike mcEachran Says:

    Simon – FYI – the weaker your arguments, the more grandiloquent your posts . It’ your “tell”.

    Your point (once deciphered) is an old stand-by: “but this is how we’ve always dun it.” Conservatives may appreciate, even revere tradition, but when all the evidence suggests that ones tradition hurts others, it’s time to let the tradition evolve. Conservatives have held on to many hurtful traditions for too long, including slavery, the suppression of women, distrust of science, bigorty against races, theft of lands of natives, the suppression of interracial marriage, and so on. All of these traditions had long histories, deep roots, and many distiguished supporters and they were all wrong with a capital R. Feel free to ignore history, and embrace hurtful meddling traditions at your own peril. My question is, aren’t conservatives of your ilk tired of being on the wrong side of history at just about every turn?

  27. Kevin Jackson Says:

    Simon Simon Simon-

    While I realize that quoting oneself to bolster an argument is in your wheelhouse, telling me what I meant by my statement is a bit over the line. I put the quotation in for one purpose only, to indicate that IMO it fit the definition and that I was not trying to use hyperbole. Plain and simple, that was my goal. Not to try and put you down.

    I do think if you listen to the more ardent anti Gay Marriage people there are less thoughtful arguments than you are admitting to. I think you are using the minority position to give credence to the majority. I’ve had these discussions, and in none of them have I heard a reasoned argument like you made. You get Adam and Steve, it’s unnatural, The purpose for marriage is for procreation etc. (Got this one from my neighbor with no kids-He didn’t see the irony at all) What I haven’t heard are the arguments you made.

    I genuinely pity you and your wife if that’s truly your view of marriage.

    And I pity someone who tries to denigrate two people who love each other and stay together because of our desire to live together and not society forcing us to. If more Republicans tried it there would be a lot more stable relationships and a lot less hypocrites.

    I hope you come to a more fulfilling understanding in the fullness of time.

    Who the hell are you to make comments on what constitutes a fulfilling understanding of a relationship? You are so much better when you are not an insulting ignorant fool.

    What’s ironic, of course, is that you apparently believe in gay marriage, but evidently not in marriage itself!

    I believe society has a need for recognizing relationships in some legal way. I personally, don’t get hung up on what term is used because if I used marriage in the traditional Republican sense my wife and I would likely have to have had affairs and had a divorce. (Or is that just the people defending marriage) I think the parties in the relationship define what it is to them. There is likely alot of overlap among groups but I don’t think we have to agree on all of them. For example, I don’t believe in marrying my cousin or 15 year olds as some Red States still do. So I wouldn’t live in those places.

    It seems that some same-sex couples – those who want to get married – have a better understanding than some straight couples.

    Cute, but as usual clueless. You don’t know me or my wife but you believe a Toad like Gingrich has more standing to discuss marriage and that you have any right to comment on my marriage. That is truly arrogant and foolish. Just when I thought we could find some common ground.

  28. mike mcEachran Says:

    J. Harden – as you make your exudus to “places in the country that are more or less insulated from the incessant cultural atrophy and slouching toward Gomorrah”, take a lesson from Lot’s wife, and don’t don’t the let the door hit you in the ass.

  29. janjanjan Says:

    Marriage in our society is a civil construct which confers many civil rights on the married. Granted, many Americans are married in a religious setting because they seek to demonstrate a religious and spiritual commitment. They wish to “bless their union.” That doesn’t preclude a spiritual commitment existing without either the civil construct or the religious ceremony. Thus many people eventually marry after several years of spiritual commitment outside of marriage in order to ensure themselves of the civil rights which come only with civil marriage.

    It certainly is wonderful when the romantic, spiritual, religious, and civil are embodied in a single relationship, and affirmed in a single ceremony, but that doesn’t invalidate the need to make the for the civil protections of civil marriage available to all, whatever the state of their spiritual, romantic, or religious commitment. In the US today, even in states which sanction gay marriage, those individuals are flying without any legal protections at all. Whatever churches say about the religious aspects of marriage, I cannot see how they have the right to deny anybody their civil rights.

  30. Kevin Jackson Says:

    Jan…
    Well put.

    What I may have inferred but certainly did not mean in an earlier post was that marriage isn’t more than just two people living together. Done well, it’s something really special. What I meant was, IMO, it’s the relationship that is or isn’t special and having someone do a ceremony doesn’t make it so or not so.

  31. wj Says:

    What amazes me is that those who support the institution of marriage (often loudly and vigorously) are not celebrating this shift. Marriage may be in trouble, but the threat is not gay marriage, but rather the “domestic partnerships” that were put in to avoid it.

    Don’t believe it? consider that the majority of all domestic partnerships, by a substantial degree, are not gay couples. Rather they are heterosexual couples who could get married . . . but choose not to because with DPs they can get almost all of the benefits without having to accept any of the responsibilities.

    Anybody who really cares about marriage, as opposed to merely freaking out over homosexuality, will be out there pushing to approve marriage for same-sex couples while abolishing domestic partnerships (under whatever name). Anyone who is not needs to take another look at what it is that they really care about.

  32. Kevin Says:

    Looks like New Hampshire is joining the fray now as well.

  33. Chris Says:

    If anything, gay marriage may help marriage come back from the 60% divorce rate it now sees. And Jan, you take the cake!

  34. Simon Says:

    Mike, you may want to borrow Kevin’s dictionary and refresh your memory of what “grandiloquent” means. Nothing that’s applicable here, to be sure. In any event, I’m not here to persuade you that the conservative view of such matters is the right one; I’m simply telling you what it is. (Or at least, what the Burkean conservative says; the religious conservative may have a different view.) Whether you like it or not, that’s a valid reason to oppose legalization of same-sex marriage, and one that has nothing whatsoever to do with bigotry.

    Several of the examples you point to as “traditions” are no such thing; anti-miscegenation laws in anglo-American civilization date back only as far as the last decade of the seventeenth century, and even then were hardly universal. Likewise, slavery was a recent coinage in anglo-American history, and one which many conservatives condemned. (Burke did, for example, and on this side of the Atlantic, for every John Calhoun there was a John Adams.) Both gave way to the greater American conservative tradition, the preservation of liberty. As Hayek put it, “what in Europe was called ‘liberalism’ was here the common tradition on which the American polity had been built: thus the defender of the American tradition was a liberal in the European sense.” To be sure, many conservatives opposed ending slavery. They were wrong.

    Lastly, your question about whether “conservatives of [my] ilk [are] tired of being on the wrong side of history at just about every turn” is coherent only if one stacks the deck. You can point to a handful of examples – women’s suffrage, for example – where conservatives were certainly wrong. But there are countless and unmemoralized cases when conservatives have thwarted great harm; we don’t remember them precisely because the ideas were derailed, thus the harm never took place and never made it into the history books. There are also many examples where conservatives opposed plans that were enacted, and their concerns were vindicated: the Seventeenth Amendment, for example, or the Great Society. It’s in the nature of things that conservatives will often end up of the wrong side of change that is later vindicated, or even that should have been seen as a good at the time, but that is a far cry from what you propose.

  35. TerenceC Says:

    Simon

    You made similar statements to me as you did to KJ when I mentioned that marriage in it’s legal sense is nothing more than a pooling of property and assets. At the time I didn’t respond to your “pity” comment regarding the nature of the relationship my wife and I have had for nearly 25 years – because I didn’t feel a blog was suitably dignified. This is the second time I have read you make that claim and I find your assertion narrow minded at best, insulting – and I have to side strongly with KJ.

    The nature of my relationship with my wife is our business – the emotional commitment we have to each other is our business – our personal feelings for each other is our business – and every aspect of our relationship is quite frankly only our business. In a legal sense however, we are seen as 2 people with a partnership of property and assets – nothing more.

    The law doesn’t ask if our union was ordained by God, or if there was some other aspect of the supernatural involved. It doesn’t care about the emotional aspects of the relationship, the emotional commitment, or the fact that I would die for her, or even that I am not allowed to put my feet on the furniture. The only thing the law cares about comes into play with the ownership of marital assets and a fair distribution of assets in the event the union has ended.

    The Jefferson quote I used above wasn’t taken out of context or asked to bear more load then it was capable of. That quote and dozens of others by Jefferson was made only to shed light on the fact that Jefferson was seemingly at war with the clergy for most of his public life. He saw them in large measure as nothing more than charlatans – as I do. Another quote of Jeffersons is fitting in this instance.

    “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814″

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