If Same-Sex Marriage Is so Popular, Why Does It Always Lose at the Ballot Box? (Includes state-level data on support and legislation)

by Joshua Tucker on May 15, 2012 · 86 comments

in Campaigns and elections,Public opinion

With the continuing debate regarding the electoral implications of Obama’s announcement regarding his support for gay marriage, we are very pleased to welcome the following guest post from Gregory B. Lewis of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University:

Since all 31 states that have voted on constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage (SSM) have passed them, typically by overwhelming popular votes, should we be skeptical that half of Americans really support same-sex marriage?  Probably not.  Most bans passed when opposition to SSM was much stronger, and SSM opponents have targeted constitutional amendments for votes in states where support for SSM is weakest.

Opposition to SSM was quite strong and reasonably stable until 2004.  Since 2004, the rise in support has been remarkable.  My estimate is 16 percentage points.  Nate Silver estimates perhaps two or three percentage points a year and, according to a leaked memo, Republican pollster Jan van Lohuizen finds support rising one point a year until 2009 and 5 points a year since.  Seventeen states passed constitutional amendments by the end of 2004, and 27 did so by 2006.  Even in 2008, when next three states passed amendments, support for SSM nationally was probably 8+ percentage points lower than it is today.

Opposition to SSM varies widely by state.  Seong Soo Oh and I concluded that support was 30 points higher in Massachusetts than in Mississippi in 2006.   Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips found a 40 point split between Massachusetts and Utah in 2009.  My most current estimates find nearly a 50 point division between Massachusetts and Mississippi.

Constitutional amendments reach voters mostly in states where support for SSM is weakest: 23 of the 29 states with the least support have approved constitutional bans.  In contrast, 18 of 20 states with the highest popular support for SSM legally recognize same-sex couples in some way.  North Carolina has the 12th lowest support for SSM, making its passage of Amendment One last week less surprising than its waiting so long to do so.

Popular votes against constitutional bans are generally close to my estimates, within three percentage points in the four votes since 2008.  In 28 of 31 states, I under-predict the percentages voting against.  (Nevada opposition was two points lower than expected, and I blame my atrocious Alaska prediction on a very small sample and a very early vote.)

In 2011, majorities supported SSM in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and another five states may reach majorities this year.  If constitutional bans came up for votes in California, Colorado, and Oregon this year, they would probably fail.  Nevada, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and Arizona would be toss-ups.  In Minnesota, which will vote on a ban this fall, the estimated 49.9% support for SSM makes the vote too close to call.

Info on data and methods after the break:

DATA AND METHOD

I use data on 124,032 respondents to 102 national surveys conducted by 12 polling firms between August 1992 and December 2011, most of which I obtained from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.  The surveys used 22 different question wordings.  My dependent variable is coded 1 for those who supported SSM and 0 for those who gave any other response (including “Don’t Know” and “Civil Unions” for those asked whether they favored marriage, civil unions, or no legal recognition).  I ran a logit model with 21 dummy variables for question asked, 50 dummy variables for state, and 15 dummy variables for survey year.  I created an artificial data set with one line for each state for each year, coding the question dummies as if all respondents had answered the most commonly asked question:  “Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?”  I then used the predict command in Stata to estimate the percentage supporting SSM in each state in each year.

To estimate recent time trends, I re-ran the analysis using OLS regression, keeping the dummy variables for years up through 2004 and adding 51 linear time variables, one for each state, for the period since 2004.  As the vast majority of predicted probabilities are between 20% and 80%, the “linear” portion of the logit response curve, OLS generates virtually the same estimates as logit and the interpretation is much easier.

{ 86 comments }

Patrick May 15, 2012 at 4:45 am

Can I suggest running this model as a multilevel logit with at least state-level and year-level random effects, instead of all those dummys? Not saying the results look incorrect, just that the method is a bit… messy.

Katherine May 15, 2012 at 9:18 am

I have seen hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) used for comparative survey work and I would see this being a parallel, except instead of individual surveys in a variety countries you would have individual surveys in a variety of states. It could allow you to see what properties and characteristics of each state contribute towards such varied attitudes towards same sex marriage.

I did want to say that I found the piece super interesting and hope that you will contribute more in the future as we get closer to the election

Jim Lippard May 15, 2012 at 10:00 am

“Nevada, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and Arizona would be toss-ups.”

Arizona is an odd one in the top 20 in that it rejected a constitutional amendment in 2006 but then passed one in 2008. The amendment failed in 2006 largely due to its explicit denial of domestic partnership benefits for state employees (which seems implicit in NC’s), which the opposition campaign pointed out would affect heterosexual as well as homosexual couples.

I look forward to seeing Arizona repeal its constitutional amendment and statute banning same-sex marriage within the next few years.

apetra May 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm

The judicial activism component, creating rights not voted upon, denying rules voted upon, branding this civil rights. That’s been a huge problem.

Back when Bowers v. Hardwick reached the supreme court, gay activists branded as ‘lunacy’ the idea the ruling would lead to gay marriage.

What’s missing here is an effort to win hearts and minds. Enough with the end-runs, which have just prejudiced the public against the movement.

twicker May 15, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Judicial activism might’ve played a part in what happened in some states, but not in NC. The NC Legislature was attempting to prevent *legislative* activism, the same kind that led NY and the other, most-recent marriage equality states to become, well, marriage equality states.

The NC Legislature could just have declared that the NC judiciary had no right to rule on marriage (that’s allowed in the NC Constitution); however, from reading the media reports coming from NC, the current GOP majority was afraid that it would be kicked out in the not-too-distant future. Putting it in the NC Constitution means that legislatively repealing it would require a three-fifths majority in both houses of their legislature, plus a subsequent popular vote – very high hurdles for the legislature to clear.

Again: some of the amendments might’ve been about judicial activism, but not this one. This one was about slowing down what even the speaker of the NC house sees as inevitable (he’s famously predicted that the amendment will be overturned, “within a generation”). I realize it’s way more fashionable to complain about judicial activism (e.g., the activism inherent in the Citizens United decision), but this wasn’t about keeping judges from subverting the legislature and the “will of the people;” this was about keeping the legislature in the future from enacting the expected will of the people for a few more years.

Jim,MtnView,Ca,USA May 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm

My buddy Pauline Kael says “How can this be? I don’t know a _single_ person who opposes gay marriage.”

MarkJ May 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Among SSM proponents there seems to be a uniform belief that “history” moves in one way: forward (and in the way they want it to move forward).

They couldn’t be more wrong: history sometimes goes sideways…and it sometimes goes backwards. This is why Progs are repeatedly knocked back on their heels when things don’t go their way. Exhibit A: the likely Supreme Court smackdown of ObamaCare after a disastrous Administration attempt to “defend the indefensible.”

apetra is right: the current tactics of SSM proponents using “end runs,” nullifying the will of voters, and imposing SSM via judicial fiat aren’t going to win in the long term. They will, however, do wonders in pissing people off….

Gregory Beaulieu May 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

They do wonders in pissing you off. Anyone who is not an ancient crotchety geezer just doesn’t care about this issue. Game over within the decade.

Matt May 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Typical ad hominem attack. You proved his point quite nicely.

GreggersMD May 17, 2012 at 8:13 am

Nonetheless, it’s true.

bob May 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm

The study is flawed. It is based on the response of people being polled. No matter how much you reassure the people being polled many believe their answered can be traced to them. There fore, it is not surprising that the apparent support for gay marriage has increased since 2008. Remember, in 2008 California passed it ban and many stories resulted in how those who support the ban were harassed to the point of losing jobs and businesses. (Just listening to the intolerance of the gay supporters reinforces this perception.) With this real threat, it is only reasonable that if questioned, those who read or hear of those stories would lie. Hence, the surprise at the election results in North Carolina.

Lee May 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm

There wasn’t any surprise at the election results in North Carolina. If you look at Mr. Lewis’ table, his estimated same-sex marriage support in the state this year is 38% (39% voted against the ban). Also, Nate Silver’s model at FiveThirtyEight also predicted the ban would pass by a similar margin. Polling suggested a similar outcome, although the 55-39 margin did have the undecided all breaking for the ban: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/05/dalton-mccrory-amendment-lead-in-north-carolina.html

brandon May 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Bob, if this was true, we should see SSM pre-vote support being seriously overestimated. What Greg Lewis has found is the opposite in an overwhelming number of states, with SSM support being slightly underestimated.

The results in NC were not a surprise at all. Polling over the last several months indicated about 60% supporting the Amendment, and the most recent polls all had it passing.

Ezra August 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Yep, keep spinning it as a positive for gays, and keep getting let down when the people vote. Smart. No homo, ever.

GreggersMD April 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Maryland, Maine, and Washington. Boom goes the dynamite.

seebs May 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Well, the “judicial activism” here goes back to Loving v. Virginia, and even that didn’t create the civil right of marriage, just commented on it already having been recognized for some time as fundamental.

The way hearts and minds were won on interracial marriage (which most people opposed in 1967) was by saying “it’s allowed anyway” and letting people meet interracial couples so they stopped being afraid.

And yes, it’s being branded civil rights. ‘cuz it is civil rights. When people are denied the right to marry the person they want to be with, that is a civil rights issue, no matter whether the denial is because of skin color, or because one of them is in prison, or because they’re the same sex.

JWE May 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Or because of consanguinity or because there are more than two of them or because they come from different species or…

seebs May 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Well, yeah. Lots of civil rights can be suspended; doesn’t make them not civil rights.

twicker May 15, 2012 at 11:37 pm

“because they come from different species” … right: because, you know, nonhumans can enter into binding legal contracts.

C’mon: yes, Rick “The Vest” Santorum talked about man-beast marriages. That doesn’t make it anywhere near a valid argument. Give that one a rest.

You might – *just might* – have a case with the polyamory argument (though the surest way of preventing that particular slide down the slope is to simply outlaw marriage; odd that people never support *that* amendment … ). But bestiality? Please.

Kerry May 17, 2012 at 10:07 am

The polyamory argument does not work, at least, it does not follow from SSM. Whether two people may get married is different from, as you say, whether two members of any species can get married and it is also different from whether more than two people may get married. There are all sorts of arrangements that either require more than one person or are limited in the number of people who can join (there cannot be “sole proprietorships” or “partnerships” with one member, depending on the state and type, LLCs, partnerships, or corporations may be limited by the number of individuals who may be a part). Clearly, it would be immorally and illegally discriminatory for the state to say there can be no same-sex partnerships. There is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about either limiting the number of people who may form an LLC or corporation or in prohibiting man-dog LLCs.

The last hope of SSM-opponents is marriage bans based on consanguinity and/or incest. The justification for those are that such marriages involve either or both of (a) power imbalances, (b) genetic risks to potential offspring. The second becomes moot in the case of sterile pairs, the first raises serious concerns that are not present in marriages between unrelated, fully emancipated adults. In other words, such bans are distinguishable from SSM in that they raise different (at least sometimes legitimate) concerns.

The only real objection to SSM is a religious one (find a true SSM opponent who does not also believe SSM is “sinful” according to their religion; or an atheist SSM opponent) which is an entirely inappropriate basis for laws in a free society.

Kerry May 17, 2012 at 10:09 am

“(there cannot be “sole proprietorships” or “partnerships” with one member…)”

That should have been, of course: (there cannot be “sole proprietorships” with more than one member or partnerships with less than two members…)”

Dave May 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I’m an atheist who opposes SSM. So there is at least one.

Amy May 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Dave…. what are your reasons specifically for opposing Same sex marriage?

Amy May 18, 2012 at 9:06 am

That is an absolutely ridiculous argument. Do you see millions and millions of people fighting for their rights to marry their dog, their brother or sister or their favorite couch? No! That is just a silly comparison and i think you know it.

We are talking about a sexuality that has proven scientifically. People who are attracted to and fall in love with another human being, whom happens to be of the same sex. Just like you would with the opposite sex.

I think its just so weird that people are so worked up over other Americans having the same rights as other Americans. Its not taking away a single right from those who already have those rights. I don’t see you out there trying to stop the idiots who meet and marry after 24 hours, or simply to save $ on taxes, or marry just so one person can stay living in the United states, “for the kids”, or various other reasons. But then when it comes to two humans who LOVE each other and want to marry and share their lives together and have the benefits of a marriage just as everyone else then suddenly its a big huge deal? Why not go picket the 8 people out there who want to marry their pet pig, and leave the MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of gay people who want the right to marry alone.

DonM May 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Homosexuals have always been married. A homosexual woman just has to marry a willing man. A homosexual man just has to marry a willing woman.

There is no right to marry someone you want to be with. I may want to marry Winona Ryder, but she may not want to marry me, or may prefer to marry someone else. I may want to marry someone already married, but they may not be elegible to marry due to being too young, too related (closer than first cousin) or being previously married to someone else. None of those restrictions violate my civil rights.

Restrictions based on race or on certain races have no genetic validity, as fertile offspring have resulted from such marriages. Restrictions based on consanguinity or sex do have genetic validity, as offspring with birth defects, or no offspring at all can result from such marriages .

I would suggest that the government get out of the marriage business. Marriage is a sacrament of various religions, and the government should not get involved. Rather, the government could continue to regulate civil unions, and marriage contracted through a religion could be permitted to be a civil union if it met various government requirements or restrictions. If it didn’t, the marriage could be a religious sacrament, but not one that could be enforced by government. That way any homosexual couple could marry if they could find a religion that would marry them, but not if they couldn’t.

Of course the lawyers will complain about that. They want government to dabble in religious matters, so that they can encourage people to resolve issues legally in court. Of course the homosexuals want to have a government sanction to their demands that particular religions grant them sacraments that are anathema to that religion, so they can sue the religion, furthering their desire to destroy sources of moral teaching that condemn homosexuality and protect children from homosexual molestors.

If the government gets out of the marriage business, I may consider marriage. Until then, it is an opportunity to give a house to someone that hate, while paying lawyers more money than I make.

seebs May 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Where on earth do you get this stuff from? No one has ever suggested that churches be required to perform marriages they disapprove of. All people want is for churches to stop saying that, since they don’t want to perform a given wedding, no one anywhere should be allowed to.

Catholic churches refuse to remarry people who have divorced unless they get an annullment, which they often cannot get. Legally, you can remarry, and that’s been true for decades. Have you ever once heard of someone trying to compel a church to remarry someone after a divorce? I sure haven’t, and that’s never been on the table. No one wants to force pastors, rabbis, or priests to perform weddings they don’t approve of, and I’ve never heard of anyone trying.

People want the government to grant them their legal rights. The idea that this would somehow turn into a requirement for churches is ludicrous, and it’s not something I’ve ever heard anyone actually advocate; all I’ve heard is people claim that it is the real goal, without ever once providing evidence for it. Not sure what it is that makes people so quick to imagine this, but even a moment’s thought reveals that it’s not an option anyone even wants, let alone an option that they are pursuing or likely to get.

Mark in Texas May 15, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Where does this stuff come from? Well just a couple of weeks ago the Obama administration came up with a requirement that Catholic organizations will have to pay for abortions and contraception for their employees. In Canada some minister was hauled before their kangaroo court system and had his freedom threatened for stating that homosexuality is condemned by Christian theology and listing bible citations in support of his contention. The Catholic Church no longer arranges adoptions in Massachusetts because the state requires all adoption facilitators to facilitate adoptions to gay couples.

There’s lots more if you want. The simple fact is that there is plenty of evidence of hostility against traditional religion in general. When it comes to a choice between religious freedom and the whims of gay activists, progressives will throw religious freedom over the side in a heartbeat.

The fact that you are OK with this hostility is not really the issue here. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge this indicates that you are arguing in bad faith and that nothing you say should be taken seriously.

twicker May 15, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Contraceptive services, yes – *if* they’re very specific types of Catholic organizations (i.e., not nearly all, although you’ve tried to make it sound that way).

But abortions? No, those are not required to be paid for, thanks. Swing and a miss.

And what does Canada have to do with anything? You *might* be able to make a case with the Massachusetts stuff (though I can’t say that there needs to be a religious freedom exemption for adoption services), but Canada? What other foreign countries are you going to bring into the mix?

Jeff May 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Twicker – what principle would prevent Obama’s Health Tsar from requiring insurance to pay for abortion? They are already going to require the morning after pill, which can result in abortion depending on timing. They have avoided it for now, but if you don’t think Sibeleus would do it in second if Obama let her, your nuts.

The disbanding of Catholic adoption services in Mass over its refusal to place children with gays is an absolute disgrace, and tells you all you need to know about left “tolerance”.

GreggersMD May 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

The Obama administration stipulated that health insurance companies (even those paid for my religious organizations for their employees) have to provide a basic standard of health care that includes contraceptives and medically necessary abortions. Allowing any company (in this case, the Catholic Church and its subsidiaries) to “opt out” of certain requirements at their own discretion would undermine the entire purpose of health care. Any company, religious or otherwise, could drop coverage of any expensive or controversial treatment at their own whim. (How contraceptives or medically necessary abortions are controversial is beyond me, but whatever.)

As for Canada, that’s a separate country. I don’t know the details of the case (and assume you are exaggerating to look like the victim as you conservatives often do) but regardless, religious freedoms are a lot stronger in the US.

As for Mass (and Illinois), Catholic adoption services stopped receiving state funding because they refused to treat people equally. In both cases, they had contracts with the states involved. Once the states stipulated that to get a contract you had to treat heterosexual and homosexual couples equally, the Church got out. They can still operate in both states, they just have to fund it themselves… god-for-friken-bid. If anything, I would think you batpoop crazy conservatives would be all for this. And before you get all faux sentimental on me and start actually caring about disadvantaged children, adoption services are still available in both states.

Heather October 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Yeah, just like goverment would never try to make religious institutions provide birth control that they see as against their religious teaches………

Oh wait, goverment is doing that!

Amy May 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Don… what are you smoking dude? Seriously! You “can’t” marry Winona Ryder or married woman because A- you don’t know Winona Ryder, you aren’t dating her and she isn’t in love with you. B- The married woman is ALREADY married thus you won’t be marrying her because she has already committed to someone else. Are those seriously your arguments? I’m sorry but that is just ridiculous and I am seriously just shaking my head at you.

Two gay people who KNOW each other, date, fall in love, want to have a family a home and a life together who are both consenting adults should be able to have the same rights as a straight couple who know each other, fall in love, want a family, a home, a life together. That is the only comparison that should be made here. TWO people who love each other and want to commit to one another. Its not rocket science. No need to make unrealistic comparisons that have nothing to do with this.

You need to educate yourself on this subject a bit more before making such silly comments. This is about human beings, who are in love and building a life with each other to have that legal recognition and all the same benefits that “straight” couples have. I’m just scratching my head on your Winonna Ryder comment, seriously…. lol i have to show some friends that comment, its too good to keep it to myself.

Left Silent in Mass August 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Marriage is about one man and one woman entering into a sacred legal contract. It is not just about two people, its about two very different people, a man and a woman. Any other type of relationship deserves it’s own name. A gay marriage defined means a happy carefree male/female relationship, is this people who call themselves homosexual really want? No, which is why they deserve to have a specific name for their type of relationship, rather then calling their relationship something that it is not or has never been.

Heather October 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm

How is it goverment is involved at all? What happened to seperation of church and state? Marriage origninated as a religious event, how is it there can be any laws that control it at all?

What is a “sacred legal contract” when viewed through the lens of seperation of church and state???? How can something sacred be a legal contract?

ana c. March 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I agree “left silent mass”. They should come up with their own name n not CAll it marriage. Marriage is between one man n one woman. God intended that way. To populate. Having children. Gay people cannot conceive the way they have sex. An abomination to the Lord. N plz. Wear ur rings on ur other hand. So there won’t be any confusion. Rings worn on the left hand are for traditional marriages.

People against gay marriage don’t hate u. We hate the sin. Plz open ur eyes n hearts. DOnt u want to be with our creator Our Lord Jesus Christ.

A N.Y. resident said, “why so many disaters here in N.Y. one after another. All up here in the North East. ” where gay marriages have been approved. Dont u see, it’s God’s doing.

Athena May 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Seebs, The old trope that IRM equals homosexual marriage is nonsense. People weren’t “afraid” of interracial couples, they simply felt that a child of such a union would face more hardships. Blacks oppose IRM at a far higher rate than whites. Homosexual marriage has NEVER been a right recognized anywhere in the world, and for good reason-It’s an oxymoron.

seebs May 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm

I never said they were equal. I just pointed out that, in 1967, when the Supreme Court declared that interracial couples could not be prohibited from marrying, there was a lot more popular opposition to that than there is to same-sex marriage now. And no, it wasn’t all about worrying about the hardships the children would face. Go look at the actual posters people had at protests; my favorite is a poster referring to the “RACE-MIXING MARCH OF THE ANTICHRIST”. Trying to pretend it was other than what it was does not make the case stronger.

Your claim that SSM has never been a recognized right is obviously false; it’s been legal in many countries, and some US states, for quite a while now. There’s also pretty good evidence of it being recognized in one form or another in other cultures even hundreds of years ago.

But even if it weren’t… So what? There was a time when the right to “vote” had never existed, and there was a time when the right for women to vote had never existed. Heck, there are people still alive who remember coverture. There was a time when the “right” not to be enslaved was not considered an inherent and universal thing, too. We keep discovering shiny new kinds of rights, and gradually extending them to the rest of humanity. The process continues.

DonM May 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Marriage is not required to produce interracial children. Nor is marriage required for perverted sex.

Be free, and multiply, or not, as the case may be.

seebs May 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Marriage doesn’t have to be required for anything to remain a fundamental civil right. You don’t have to like other peoples’ sex lives, and your approval is not required for their marriages, either. I am not sure where we got this idea that it was society’s job to enforce peoples’ personal preferences. World’s full of marriages I don’t approve of, and yet, somehow I am able to withstand the temptation to demand constitutional amendments to declare them invalid.

Amy May 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Absolutely Seebs!!!

twicker May 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Athena, not sure where you get your info that people weren’t “afraid” of interracial couples.

I’m a Southerner by birth and have lived here all my life: yes, absolutely, the segregationists were VERY, VERY, VERY afraid of interracial marriage. That’s *exactly* the reason those laws were passed. They couldn’t have given a rat’s patootie about “a child of such a union” and any theoretical hardships: they very specifically talked about, and advocated against, the “contamination of the purity of the white race.”

10,000% about bigotry, prejudice, and fear. 0% about any supposed concern about children. You’re waaaaay better off trying to make the, “concern about children,” argument for those who are opposed to marriage equality – because *they* believe that children raised by homosexual parents will grow up more traumatized than children raised by heterosexual parents. They’re *all about* the context of the marriage, and that the same child will be better off in a different context (even though there’s zero evidence for this). The “IRM” people believed that the children born to such couples would be hopelessly contaminated subhumans (i.e., sub-whites) because the purity of the “good” race would be destroyed by the noxiousness of the “bad” race.

Left Silent in Mass August 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm

It also negates the meaning of marriage as in definition you are saying two men or two women who have a homosexual male/female relationship? Is that what they really want?

AZ Resident May 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm

As someone who knows the background on the AZ proposition, the only reason it went down is it seemed to affect other institutions besides gay marriage.

Once it was properly worded and the issue was solely about gay marriage 2 years later, it easily passed with lopsided majorities.

I don’t buy for a minute that gay marriage is truly a 50/50 issue politically, I think it’s simply become taboo socially to be against gay marriage. You can’t ignore the track record of gay marriage when it goes before voters.

seebs May 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm

You may well be right about the social taboo. It’s certainly quite likely that there are people who will lie about what they believe because they are ashamed of it. However, that kind of thing tells us two things: First, that they are at some level aware that it is a thing to be ashamed of, and second, that the position they’re covering up is going to become a marginal fringe position pretty quickly. Once people start being too ashamed of a position to advocate for it, it loses ground quite a lot faster.

DonM May 15, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I am amused that homosexuals support driving people who are against redefining marriage to include homosexual perversion into the closet.

So recently out, they want to drive others in. Shame on them.

seebs May 15, 2012 at 8:04 pm

You are making a huge, and completely unsupported, assumption that it is “homosexuals” doing this. The vast majority of people who support gay rights are not gay.

Amy May 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Being homosexual is not a perversion. Its who a person is. I know MANY gay/lesbians who are GOOD honest wonderful human beings. Perverted is not on the list.

Shame on YOU! Your small mind is showing! You might want to cover it up.

richard40 May 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Equating gay rights and black rights as both being equivalent constitutional civil rights issues is not supported by the constitution. Racial discrimination is explicitely called out, along with religion and ethnic origin, as explicitely protected classes in the 14th amendment, while homosexual conduct or orientation is not explicitely protected in the constitution. That does not mean I oppose gay marriage, since I dont see how it hurts anybody else, other than having to pay for gay marriage partners in various benefit plans. But it should be acheived by building a concensus for legislation, not by having the court make up constitutionally unsupported rights.

Having the courts strike down sodomy bans is different, since in that case the private conduct has no effect at all on others, and should be protected by basic privacy rights.

I think right now a majority is still opposed to gay marriage, but I also think that view is slowly changing, just like the concensus view on gun rights has slowly changed over the years. If gay groups are sufficiently patient, they will eventually achieve their concensus.

I think it would also help achieve this concensus if more gays tried to support libertarian groups as well as just leftists, since libertarian groups can also influence thinking in conservative and repub circles, while most conservatives will completely ignore leftist orientated argumants. This is obvious if you look at the tea party, which by and large is not that concerned about gay issues, either way, and does not have the same anti gay animus that socons do, because of the influence of libertarians on that movement. I think tea party influence is one reason why fiscally conservative gay groups, like GOPROUD, have gotten a much more receptive hearing in conservative circles than they did in the past.

Gays who express their arguments in terms of individual freedom, and a desire to live their own lives unconstrained by gov, as long as they dont harm others, are more apt to be listened to by libertarians and conservatives than if they start talking about rights they should be getting from government, and using gov to force religions to recognize them.

seebs May 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm

No one is “making up” rights. Go read the ruling in Loving v. Virginia. The right is clearly described there, and has nothing to do with courts “making up” rights.

I have no idea where you get this thing about “using gov to force religions to recognize them”. This has, quite simply, never happened, nor is it going to. People are not asking that churches marry them; they are asking that the government do. Churches will marry or not-marry as they please, as they have always done. There are still churches out there that won’t marry interracial couples, and there have been churches recognizing gay marriage for at least 25 years now.

The only people trying to blur that line are the ones demanding that the government formalize their church’s view.

brandon May 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm

It’s not a sexuality-based discrimination claim but a sex-based one.

Adam can marry Jane, but Jill cannot marry Jane. The distinction is made solely on sex and Jane lacks the same rights as Adam.

Left Silent in Mass August 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm

How can two women or two men have a male/female relationship which is called marriage? They cannot. What they have is something else and should recognized as something else. To confuse the issue as an equality issue is wrong, because marriage is open to all, but not all choose a marriage relationship, some choose something else and the something else should have a name of its own so not to insult, offend or revile those who choose marriage which by definition is a male-female relationship. Diluting to include other types of relationships confuses the definitions and blurs the boundaries of relationships.

Rich K May 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm

BS on all of it, its all about money. Tax breaks for married versus single, welfare payments of various stripes,inheritance resolution of same sax unions, medicaid and medicare qualifications etc. Oh, and as a bonus, many gay brigadiers want to hound the various and sundry church organizations to accept them and go against gospel and principal. Other than that I dont see any issue with it as Im not married,gay, or supporting either through taxation or subsidies on any level Im aware of. Have a great day..

Lou Gots May 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Obviously, Perverts going through a form of marriage is “popular” the same way so-called gun-control is “popular.”

The perverts and their MSM toadies (“Mainstream Media,” not THAT MSM, but, of course, them too.) scam up phoney polls the same way the gun-grabbers do, but what is actually happening on the ground is a different story.

Be of good cheer. The left has repeatedly wounded itself badly by believing their own anti-gun lies. The same thing can happen with sexual deviance.

seebs May 15, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Fear leads to anger and anger leads to the dark side. Seriously, “Perverts”, complete with inappropriate capitalization? That is so last-century. Yes, gay people get married in some parts of the world. The sky has not fallen. It’s no big deal; it’s just part of the way in which the world is different now from how it used to be. Maybe it won’t work out now, but the fact is, too many of us now know happy gay couples who’ve been together for twenty years and more, and it’s just stopped seeming like a big deal.

Amy May 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Lou Gots, you are ridiculous. Gun rights and a HUMAN BEING who is born gay/lesbian are two totally different things. Gays and Lesbians are not perverts any more then calling all straight people perverts. I hear more stories about straight men abusing, raping, etc young women and boys then anything else. But it has to do with the individual, not the sexuality. Just because someone is “gay” does not make them perverts. That is your personal dislike for their sexuality, but your dislike for what they do in the bedroom should have NOTHING to do with their rights as human beings. End of story.

Al May 15, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I live in California and generally don’t care if gays get married but I voted against it the last time because of a provision about some level of teaching about it in public schools that reminded me of how in NYC there is or was going to be efforts to identify gay kids and separate them from the general population to be taught by gays in a gay environment. There’s something very off about that.

brandon May 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Some cities have these schools as a refuge available to gay students who are harassed and emotionally abused by their classmates. They are not mandatory gay education camps.

Amy May 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Al, there were a lot of lies being told and a ton of $ being funaled in as well to swing voters such as yourself who personally don’t care if gays/lesbians get married to their loved ones and have the same rights as others.
I don’t think its on any gay or lesbians agenda to go out and invade schools and kids minds. That was a scare tactic and it obviously worked. I hope you will think differently if another vote comes into place.
As far as gay kids being pulled out and identified i believe that to also be another “rumor” scare tactic. I have a friend who is quite high up in the school system in NYC and asked her about it, she said its an absolute lie. She said if anything they want the schools to be anti bullying and for kids to feel safe to talk to teachers about being gay. But seperating them is completely untrue. Its sad but the scare tactics used really did work on a lot of people. And it has in turn hurt many many good families (gay lesbian couples who share homes, kids, lives) because people are SO frightened of them being “equal”

Left Silent in Mass August 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Some may not have an agenda, yet there are others who do and then there are others who do not practice the agenda but are willing to help enforce the agenda against those in opposition or those who question the agenda and or the good/bad of the agenda. Often it seems more about domination and submission then about equality. One group wants to dominate and subdue the culture for their own pleasure and blank-blank the rest of us under our heel of their oppression. I think the question is becoming who the oppressor now and what is the oppression really about? And even some of those who classify themselves as gay seem to be asking this same question.

ns May 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Does denying blind people drivers licenses violate equal protection?

The equal rights argument is NOT a slam dunk — you cannot ignore the fundamental nature of its object which in the case of marriage as an institution defining & stabilizing paternity parental support in return for sexual exclusivity and inheritance– is inherently related to heterodexual couples in a way that it is not for SSM

twicker May 16, 2012 at 12:07 am

Let’s discuss this “fundamental nature” of marriage, especially the “sexual exclusivity” part. For example, tell me about King David and his fundamental marriage. Or Abraham. Or … well, you know where this is going.

And, for thousands of years, “marriage” was basically a contract for how Family A could acquire the rights to the female(s) of Family B so that their sons could become the owners of said female(s). We in the US (and others around the world) very directly, and (IMNSHO) appropriately, *changed* this “fundamental nature” of marriage, giving women property rights, inheritance rights, domestic violence protections, etc. We’ve been changing the “fundamental nature” of marriage for over 100 years now, and good on us for doing it. You can go to places like Uzbekistan, where people still practice bride-kidnappings (kidnapping girls, forcing them to be in a ceremony of “marriage,” raping them, and *then* telling their families where they are), if you want to see what *was* part and parcel of the definition of the “fundamental nature” of marriage before we decided to fundamentally alter marriage.

In the most literal sense of the term, I thank God (as in, I, as a Christian, offer my prayers of thanks to the Almighty) that we DID change that “fundamental nature.” I would hope that you, also, are glad that we have changed.

ns May 16, 2012 at 8:39 am

The core issue with ‘exclusivity’ has always been exclusive access to the woman sexually and the presumption of paternity that goes with it, in return for paternal support from the man. *Everything* depends on his trust that the kids are his.

You help make my point for me – even in the least savory of your examples the common thread is man+woman=children is what is being encouraged and protected by the community as a whole (culture supporting the evolved move to [however imperfect] pair bonding). THAT is fundamental. Historically it led to more/better off children for the next generation, and the monogamous form in particular reduces intra-tribe male violence. BTW in the most primitive cultures studied the pattern is always monogamy (albeit with some cheating) instead of formalized polygamy, which can only exist where other social structures allow greater inequality between men (more resources for more mouths in the family)

Amy May 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Ns…yet another ridiculous comment. A blind person cannot drive because they cannot SEE!!!!

A gay person can love and an adult human being who is in love with another adult human being and is making the decision to want to share their lives together is NOT even close to being compared to a blind person who would not even want to drive because they can’t see.

Wow there are some silly people out there. (scratching my head and laughing) i’m sharing this comment with some people too, because its just too ridiculous and small minded not to.

I have gay friends, straight friends, black friends, white friends, all kinds of friends. I don’t believe that any of my friends are better then or deserve less or more of anything. We are all humans and should be given the same basic equal rights. Stop being ridiculous and come up with a better argument then something so insulting and really kind of stupid.

Left Silent in Mass August 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Every man and woman has a right to enter into a marriage. It is the definition of marriage that gays want to change. What they want is not marriage. A marriage, is both a sacred and a legal contract between a one man and one woman and has been defined this way for millennium. If men and women want something else then that should have it’s own name, rather then holding marriage up to ridicule by calling it something it is not. It is not just about two people, it is about two people of the opposite sex coming together to possibly create a family, if God and nature allow.

Lorenzo from Oz August 3, 2012 at 7:38 pm

That was a “definition” of marriage that was imposed by brutality in the first place. Lots of cultures in history have recognised either same-sex marriages or same-sex relationships. Monotheism came along and banned such and used judicial murder to kill those who did not sexually conform. “Defining” marriage as between a man and a woman does not even cover the Old Testament.

teapartydoc May 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

The same thing is going to happen to “gay” marriage that happened to the ERA. After flirting with the idea of absolute equality between the sexes, people actually began to think about the practical consequences of trying to live in a world where it was enforced by law. People are starting to think. That’s all.

Lorenzo from Oz August 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Which does not explain why opinion is moving in the direction of same-sex marriage. Also, ERA was a constitutional amendment to extend rights, these are all constitutional amendments to block equal protection of the law. Not the same thing.

Joey May 15, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Did a linear fit of your 2011 SSM predictions with 2-party vote share (DEM), regular church attendance (CHU), and % black population (BLK) (more details below). The three variable fit had an adjusted R^2 of .827. The model overestimated Hawaii, Vermont, and West Virginia, and underestimated Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Coefficients were strongly significant (p<0.0002) for DEM and CHU and of roughly equal magnitude, but opposite sign. The coefficient for BLK was marginally significant (p<0.15), negative, and about 1/4 the magnitude of CHU. I would expect that a parameter for higher education would be positively correlated with E_SSM and improve the model.

DEM was the average of the Democratic share of the two-party vote in 2004 and 2008. CHU was from a Gallup poll in 2009 on frequent church attendance by state. BLK was 2010 Census data. Alaska was eliminated due to poor E_SSM value above, and DC was eliminated as it's highly atypical.

PacRim Jim May 16, 2012 at 1:38 am

It wins handling because women seeking husbands don’t need more competition.

doncastro May 16, 2012 at 9:01 am

As a former Utah resident and former Mormon, I always find it interesting to see Utah so firmly entrenched in the Confederacy. Racism, of course, was long institutionalized in the Mormon religion with blacks denied the Priesthood because their were considered “the seed of Cain”. In Utah, the Broze Age and its primitive mythology still reign supreme when it comes to religion.

Jeff May 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

The flaw here is that, if the order of states by strength of support looks plausible, the size of support looks dubious given the known fact (confirmed by NYU study) that support for gay marriage tends to overpoll by about 7 percent. Gay marriage has been defeated at the ballot box in states which showed a majority support for gay marriage (California, Maine, perhaps Oregon?) There is no reason to suppose that this effect has disappeared just because gay marriage support has risen. Polls overstates support for gay marriage in North Carolina, for instance, by about 5-7 points. If we assume this as a uniform phenomenon, only two or three states would have clear majority support for gay marriage. I also wonder how many of these polls actually reflect support for marriage OR civil unions. This is increasingly a fall back option for softer opposition.

Greg Lewis May 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

Opposition to same-sex marriage bans over-polls by 7 percentage points, but there’s little evidence that same-sex marriage does. Charles Gossett and I found that support for SSM in polls of Californians predicted opposition to Proposition 8 very well (http://works.bepress.com/cwgossett/1/ ). In this paper, support for SSM in California in 2008 and North Carolina in 2012 under-predicts opposition to the bans.

NC Resident May 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm

To those who state that “other countries have allowed gay marriage for a long time”.. I would also remind you that there are MANY countries, especially Muslim countries, where homosexuals are tortured and shot by the government because they are not allowed to exist there….

Left Silent in Mass August 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm

They are not allowed to be publicly acknowledged, when they seek that they are executed.

Lorenzo from Oz August 3, 2012 at 7:40 pm

False. Private activity is penalised by up to and including the death penalty.

Sobpol May 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I believe Biden’s gaff was strategically planned and the complimentary pro SSM themed merchandise is an obvious tell but all politicians are calculating; what of it?

Most people ‘apostlelize’ the 31 states that banned same-sex marriage while ignoring that the voting population isn’t inert; the persuadable voter remains and the older voters that are adamantly against SSM are replaced by pro gay marriage. Obama’s gambit will be a factor in a win if his timing is unerring

Left Silent in Mass August 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm

In Massachusetts, “gay marriage” was not allowed to go to a citizens’ vote. It was decided by an activist judge and the State legislature because “they decided” that the citizens would not make the appropriate choice and therefore any citizen petitions for a vote on the subject were not allowed to move forward in the legislature and appear on the State ballot. Also, at one point, petition signers’ names, addresses and phone numbers were leaked to those who would use them to threaten, intimidate and hold up to public ridicule the petition signers who were only asking that they would be allowed to exercise their Right to vote on the issue.

ken melbourne September 21, 2012 at 8:32 am

If we are just a bag of chemicals and physical reactions, then of course same sex sex is OK. Plenty of people spout that evolutionary paradigm because it suits them to be ‘free’ of any constraint. But does anyone really believe it?

Foo Bar November 16, 2012 at 6:00 am

6 months later, and marriage equality won 4 out of 4 public votes this year. As your polling chart illustrates, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington are all towards the pro-marriage end of the spectrum. So it may take a little while longer before the USA as a whole accepts marriage equality, but the will of the people is clearly moving in that direction.

ana c. March 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm

What about the will of God “foo bar”. ? We are to do GODS WILL n not our own. We r to please Him n not to our sinful nature. We r not to please the flesh but to plz. God.

YOU LOSE December 5, 2012 at 5:44 pm

NOT ANYMORE, BITCHES!

ana c. March 25, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Why have à propostion (prop 8) and vote on it, when the losing party takes it to court to have it over turned. When we vote, and whatever wins, should stay.

No wonder why many people ddon’t vote or are not going to vote anymore. I know I’m not voting again.

ana c. March 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Ooops. Prop 8 :( why vote if they want to change the vote

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