Majority Tenuously Favors Same-Sex Marriage

Yesterday’s post discussed Gallup data demonstrating increased acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships and homosexuality in general. Gallup data also suggest that perhaps a majority of Americans are comfortable with legalizing same-sex marriage. However a new CBS News/New York Times poll, asking a different way, finds only 38 percent support gay marriage. As the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake explains here, the main difference between the Gallup Poll and the CBS/New York Times poll is the number of answer choices.

The Gallup poll asked if Americans approve or disapprove of President Obama’s position that “same-sex couples should be able to legally marry,” 51 percent approve and 45 percent disapprove.

Asked one year earlier, with slightly different wording, but also with two answer choices, Gallup foundthat 53 percent said “marriages between same-sex couples” “should be valid” and 45 percent said they “should not be valid.”

However, the CBS/New York Times poll provides three answer choices and finds less support for gay marriage. Thirty-eight percent thought “same-sex couples should be” “allowed to marry” 24 percent thought they should be allowed to “form civil unions” and 33 percent thought same-sex couples should have “no legal recognition.”

The differential response resulting from different question wording indicate the tenuous state of public opinion regarding same-sex marriage. Americans are not quite fully comfortable with gay marriage, but when asked to make the trade-off between no legal recognition and marriage, Americans opt for allowing gays and lesbians to get married. Nevertheless, this issue’s “swing voters” tend to prefer civil unions. This explains why intensity is not on the side of liberalization. Moreover, a cursory overview of state same-sex marriage laws shows that those opposed to gay marriage have better mobilized to get their preferred policies enacted.

National Gay Marriage Laws

Source: CBSNews.com

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  • SIV||

    #1 libertarian issue!

  • ||

    +economy

  • John||

    http://nation.foxnews.com/gay-.....ge-support

    I wonder if maybe this will affect Obama among black voters more than you would think.

  • sloopyinca||

    Just look at California on that map and wonder aloud why gay marriage is illegal here in this progressive paradise. That should answer your question.

  • ||

    Mormons? Couldn't possibly have been anyone else.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I like how the article said "urban" to mean "urban black person" or just "black person."

    Would they say that "it's pitch urban outside?" Or "he was urbanballed from the racist club because he was urban."

  • SIV||

    "With temperatures dropping expect sleet and freezing rain. Watch out for urban ice to form, particularly on overpasses and bridges"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "the dinner is urban tie."

  • crazyfingers||

    The problem with gay marriage is that the government divorce courts will no longer be able to use gender when deciding which party to discriminate against / completely screw over.

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Can they ask which was the butch and which the fem?

  • R C Dean||

    So bored with gay marriage, and coastal elite enclave celebration of all things homo.

    So . . . very, very bored.

    Seriously, even as a civil rights/equal protection violation, its pretty weak tea in the scheme of things. The harm seems to boil down to "lack of government approval", as the legal side of marriage can be mostly duplicated with Quicken WillMaker for $60.

  • John||

    Pretty much. And think of all of the political capital gays have wasted on this issue that could have been used for things like anti discrimination laws and such.

  • Woldry||

    Antidiscrimination laws are, in my book at least, far more antilibertarian than pro-gay-marriage laws.

  • John||

    and one other thing. I am not sure that many gay people, especially gay men really want to get married. Most gay men want to tom cat around. If they wanted to settle down with a good women and have children, they would go straight.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Most gay men want to tom cat around.

    And you know this how?

  • John||

    It has been the universal sentiment among the gay men I have known. Gay culture, at least among men, is very much a counter culture.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Most gay men want to tom cat around.

    Replace the word "gay" with "black" and I think you'll see the problem. Media depiction doesn't equal reality.

  • John||

    One of my favorites is a scene in the movie Philadelphia where Tom Hanks explains how he got HIV. See it was just this one trip he took to a theater to get an anonymous blow job. He only did it once and it was out of desperation and curiosity. Sure Tom.

  • Xenocles||

    Is that true? It seems like it would be extremely hard to get an STD from getting a blowjob.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It seems like it would be extremely hard to get an STD from getting a blowjob.

    Some folks still haven't learned not to use teeth.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Yeah, and why didn't the eagles drop the Ring into Mt Doom?

  • Pip||

    Hi HM,

    As someone who has chaired gay organizations let me clue you in, John is correct. His use of the word "most" is for once accurate.

    - Pip

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ok, fine. I'll concede.

  • John||

    And I would also point to Andrew Sullivan who says much the same thing. Sullivan made his reputation advocating for gay marriage as a way to get gay men to be more responsible and join society. And he was excoriated for it in gay circles, especially after he was caught running personal ads for anonymous sex.

  • T o n y||

    Among all your stereotypes you've hit upon an important point: the gay marriage movement is a conservative movement. Marriage is a conservative institution. Legalizing it would go far to moving gay people into normal society. This is why the anti-GM position based on "protecting marriage" is thinly veiled bigotry—they really mean protecting their precious little heads from being wrapped around the idea of gay people having their relationships legitimized. Allowing gays to marry means expanding and buttressing marriage.

    Personally I'm against the idea of marriage and much prefer to "tom cat" around. But I suspect soon I will be of an outdated generation known for more countercultural attitudes in its youth, as the generations that preceded me are, and young gay people will grow up into a world in which they are as boring and normal as straight people. What a depressing thought!

  • John||

    I doubt it will be as boring as you think it will be Tony. Most of what keeps straight men from Tom catting around is the social pressure from women. Such pressure is absent in the gay male community.

    It is not that gay men are all that different from straight men. It is just that gay men don't have wives and girlfriends nagging them into fidelity.

  • T o n y||

    There's probably truth to that, but I probably know a roughly equal number of straight and gay man-whores, and a roughly equal amount of straight and gay men in monogamous relationships. Straight men do plenty of sleeping around and seem plenty able to resist female pressure to settle down. All it takes is not calling her back.

    If we stipulate that marriage serves to encourage monogamy, which seems likely, then why wouldn't it do the same for gay men as it does for straight men?

  • John||

    I don't think marriage so much as women encourage monogomy in men.

  • T o n y||

    Gay men don't like cheating anymore than women do.

  • Xenocles||

    Do you mean they don't like cheaters or that the don't like to cheat?

  • T o n y||

    Being cheated on.

  • T o n y||

    I don't know what the scientific literature says, but I would guess that tendencies toward monogamy and promiscuity in men exist on a genetic spectrum, representing a spectrum of genetic strategies. And I would guess it's not related to the genetic factors in sexual orientation. Some men (gay or straight) are more inclined toward monogamy, and others toward promiscuity.

    All men are horny, yes, and it's hard to argue with the evidence right in front of one's face, say in comparing gay male habits with lesbian habits. I've always thought having two men means a reduced proclivity toward monogamy.

    But then again, the only thing I see holding many straight couples together is the official/social pressure that comes with marriage.

  • wareagle||

    basic biology would tell you that gay men are one end of the promiscuity index. There is no bathhouse or anonymous equivalent in the straight world. And as you point out, "all men are horny". A straight man has to find a willing woman. A gay man simply has to find another man. I think the latter's odds of success are better.

  • Pip||

    "buttressing"

    *snicker*

  • R C Dean||

    Legalizing it would go far to moving gay people into normal society.

    I honestly don't see why this would be true. The majority of people that I interact with, I don't have the faintest idea whether they are married or not (nor do I care). Oh, sure I could check for wedding rings, but my apathy is so pervasive that I don't bother.

    And there's nothing stopping a committed gay couple from getting married in the church of their choice, wearing rings, and generally holding themselves out as married. Its just the state recognition of that marriage that they don't get now, in most states.

    Why state recognition of marriage is essential to moving into "normal society", I just don't get.

  • R C Dean||

    should read "the church of their choice (provided it is willing to perform a gay marriage, which is totally its business)"

  • T o n y||

    Which is worse?

    State recognition of straight marriage but not gay marriage.

    State recognition of both straight and gay marriage.

    Both contain a violation of your libertarian principle, but only one contains that plus a violation of equal protection.

  • wareagle||

    stop beating the horse. Most people here are okay with gay marriage. It's govt control of any marriage that tends to raise hackles. But since govt is not likely to gracefully bow out, people here to tend to favor inclusion of gay marriage.

  • ||

    Most gay men want to tom cat around.

    FTFY

  • Woldry||

    Put me down as a gay man who doesn't want to tomcat around. Monogamy for me.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So bored with gay marriage, and coastal elite enclave celebration of all things homo.

    And I'm bored of the Yokeltarian chip-on-the-shoulder toward anyone who has actually traveled 50 miles past their hometown. How do you like them apples?

    The harm seems to boil down to "lack of government approval", as the legal side of marriage can be mostly duplicated with Quicken WillMaker for $60.

    You do realize that that "lack of government approval" means that a person in a same-sex relationship with a non-citizen could never sponsor his or her partner for citizenship like a heterosexual couple could? Or do you think only a speechifying coastal city-slicker would ever let foreigners take jobs eligible, but confirmed, bachelors from real Americans?

  • John||

    That is true. But how many people does that actually affect? I would love to see the numbers on that. Is there a big gay male order bride industry I have never heard of?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Is there a big gay male order bride industry I have never heard of?

    I take it you've never been to Thailand or the Philippines.

  • John||

    No I haven't.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Raising taxes on millionaires doesn't affect a lot of people either. Does that mean we shouldn't care about that either?

  • John||

    It does affect a lot of people by adversely affecting the entire economy.

    And while not affecting a lot of people doesn't make it right. It does make it less important than things like the drug war or the regulatory state that do affect a lot of people.

  • T o n y||

    Why are these issues mutually exclusive?

  • R C Dean||

    They aren't. Its just that there's a limited amount of mindspace and political capital, and it seems odd to me that we spend so much of it on gay marriage. Given the other issues that desperately need it.

  • T o n y||

    For the sake of argument I'll agree that criminal justice reform (including drug law reform) is more important, as it is possibly the most important issue of our time. But while pro-marriage-equality groups have been busy taking their case to court, drug war libertarians have been busy supporting every single expansion of private corporate power, the major driving force of problems in our criminal justice system, not to mention tacitly supporting conservative politicians because they agree with you on billionaires' tax rates.

    Get liberals elected to office and see progress on all fronts, except billionaires' taxes. As you plainly said, life is about priorities.

  • wareagle||

    give me a break. Liberals have been elected to office before, they even ran both houses of Congress after The Obama's election, and look how that turned out.

    Stop with the team bullshit. Liberalism has failed the world over and, no, American liberals are no smarter than those anywhere else.

  • Proprietist||

    "drug war libertarians have been busy supporting every single expansion of private corporate power, the major driving force of problems in our criminal justice system, not to mention tacitly supporting conservative politicians because they agree with you on billionaires' tax rates."

    Tony, you look so manly when you beat up those scrawny little scarecrows. By unanimous decision, you win the Flyweight belt in the Ultimate Strawman Fighting Championship.

  • ||

    expansion of private corporate power, the major driving force of problems in our criminal justice system

    I always wondered why North Korea and Cuba have no problems in thier criminal justice systems.

    Now I know why. take away corporate power and the problems they melt away.

  • Xenocles||

    "...gay male order bride..."

    I see what you did there. Then again, you are John.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It worse than that. In many parts of the country, if you're gay the courts won't enforce your will, medical directives, directions on who is to take care of your children if you die, etc. If we weren't using marriage as a christmas tree to hang tons of other legal rights on, you're correct that "lack of government approval" wouldn't be a big deal. But we do, and it is.

  • John||

    I defy you to show me any state that will not allow you to appoint a non spouse third party to make medical decisions for you. They don't exist.

    And as far as children go, your children will belong to their other biological parent upon your death whether you are married or not. You can't give custody of your kids to your spouse in your will so long as those kids have another living biological parent who still has parental rights. So the situation you describe will happen no matter if you are married or not.

    If you adopted as a gay couple, the biological parent has no rights. And in that situation any court will give custody by your wishes.

    The things you list are urban myths.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I defy you to show me any state that will not allow you to appoint a non spouse third party to make medical decisions for you. They don't exist.

    Oh you can appoint your gay lover. Good luck getting it enforced by the courts when the hospital ignores it and does what your family tells them to do. Likewise getting your will enforced when your family objects to you leaving your estate to someone with no legally recognized relationship to you.

    If you adopted as a gay couple...

    Assuming you live in the 22 states where gay adoption is legal...

  • R C Dean||

    Good luck getting it enforced by the courts when the hospital ignores it and does what your family tells them to do.

    An example would help. I would be genuinely shocked to learn that a hospital would risk having its doors closed by violating state and federal law by disregarding a legally appointed medical decisionmaker.

    Because that would be the risk they would run. Informed consent and medical decisionmaking is a deadly serious business. The consequences for violating the law in this area are potentially catastrophic.

    I'm calling this one an urban myth until you can show me it has actually happened.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    How about:

    http://www.nclrights.org/site/.....noma_et_al

    Greene and Scull lived together for 20 years and had executed both mutual powers of attorney for medical and financial decisions and wills naming each other as beneficiaries. In April 2008, County employees separated the couple after Scull fell outside their shared home. In the next three months, County officials ignored the couple’s legal documentation, unlawfully auctioned their possessions, terminated their lease, and forced Greene into an assisted living facility against his will. The County did not consult Greene in Scull's medical care and prevented the two from seeing one another. In August, 2008, before the partners could be reunited, Scull passed away after completing a photo album of the couple’s life for Greene.
  • SIV||

    Nothing in the linked report suggests that tragic case happened because of their sexual orientation. Old and disabled people get fucked over by social workers all the time.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It wasn't about sexual orientation in the sense some beuracrat was twirling their mustache going "Muahaha, let's go get the gays!", but if you look up the case, they way the city got away with it was by claiming in court that Greene and Scull were just roommates and that Greene had coerced Scull into signing the documents. That would have been a much harder to case to make if they'd been officially married for 20 years.

  • R C Dean||

    I would also like to see an example of an otherwise legal will that was disregarded because one of the beneficiaries was gay.

    People leave their stuff to their freakin' cats, for crying out loud. There is a long and proud history of leaving stuff to their mistresses and lovers. I think the idea that courts are throwing out wills because of teh gay is another urban myth, until I see an actual example.

  • wareagle||

    Good luck getting it enforced by the courts

    I want to see where that's been a problem, too. The courts have no choice but to enforce a legal document. And people have been leaving estates to all manner of folks, and in some cases to pets, for a long time.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The courts have no choice but to enforce a legal document.

    Are you seriously going to argue that courts never make rulings contrary to the law in the name of political expediency? You think some elected judge in Texas wants go into the next election with his opponents sending out mailers about how "Judge so-and-so ruled that gay wills should be treated as valid as the wills of straight couples. Can we trust him with another term on the bench?"

  • Stormy Dragon||

    This isn't even just a GLBT issue. I mean one of the big stories the past few years in my area has been the breaking of the Barnes Foundation trust wherein a succession of elected judges in the Philadelphia area have released ruling after ruling about how Barnes didn't mean anything in his will because the Philadelphia City government wanted to steal his art collection.

  • SIV||

    "There was this movie about lesbians on HBO once..."

  • R C Dean||

    And I'm bored of the Yokeltarian chip-on-the-shoulder toward anyone who has actually traveled 50 miles past their hometown. How do you like them apples?

    Good for you. Why your attitude toward yokeltarians should apply to me, I haven't a clue.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Hey, you're the one using such culture war shibboleths as "coastal elite enclave".

  • R C Dean||

    Well, that seems to be where the gooey encomiums to the gay lifestyle are coming from.

    Don't get me wrong; I really don't care what people do with their willies and hoohahs in their spare time.

    But I'm pretty fed up with the folks (who, yes, live in narrow coastal enclaves and fancy themselves as the elites) congratulating themselves on their overall superiority, and foisting their views off as self-evidently The Right and Only Way. Even when I agree with them, I find them intensely annoying.

  • ||

    Even when I agree with them, I find them intensely annoying.

    Actually the insufferable gauge goes up for me the more I agree with them.

  • SIV||

    The "coastal elite enclaves" started the damn war by using force of law to try and change change culture and custom.

  • wareagle||

    you can't change culture by law. It changes over time. A generation ago, no even put the words gay and marriage together. I doubt many folks even knew an openly gay individual; today, most everyone does and thinks nothing of it.

  • wef||

    I support anything pro-gay, because it's an accepted way to be passive-aggressive islamophobic.

    If Muslims are going to insist on having way more babies than we non-reproducible, sterile multi-culties, at least we can feel more enlightened and superior for a few more decades. Anyway, the grandchildren can convert when the time comes. If there are any grandchildren to convert.

  • yonemoto||

    apparently there is a huge underground gay culture in Jeddah. You're not gay if you're doing the penetrating. Lots of filipino men (and boys?) immigrate to capitalize, despite the huge risks.

  • yonemoto||

    what does emily ekins favor?

  • SIV||

    Transportation central planning, but only when Bob Poole pays her to push poll for it.

  • ||

    Northern coastal states are so gay...

    ...not that there is anything wrong with that.

  • box_man||

    I can't stand how much time this issue gets and while I register and vote libertarian, I don't agree with the party line on this issue anyway. I see no reason to expand marriage to include gay relationships because there is little scientific evidence to indicate that homosexuality is an innate state of being that arises solely from genetic composition. Contrast that to heterosexuality which is clearly a component of our genetic makeup for the continuance of the species and there is no compelling argument for expanding a civil institution to confer benefits on a sexual proclivity that doesn't serve to further the continuance of the species. Creating alternate civil institutions to confer benefits on monogamous, polyamorous, or polysexual romantic relationships would seem to be the most reasonable approach to ensure people are given equal treatment in matters of civil rights.

    I suppose not a popular position here, but I am entitled to my opinion and you are entitled to flog me for it if you feel so inclined.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I see no reason to expand marriage to include gay relationships because there is little scientific evidence to indicate that homosexuality is an innate state of being that arises solely from genetic composition.

    Why does it even matter why people are gay? It neither "breaks your arm nor picks your pocket", so whatever the reasons for it, it's not the law's place to proscribe it based purely on your aesthetic tastes.

  • box_man||

    It matters because the gay marriage advocates have made it central to their arguments against the conservative moral opposition to gay relations. The gay marriage advocates have made core arguments that their relationship is equivalent because they did not choose homosexuality any more than 90%+ choose heterosexuality. This has been especially prevalent when attacking religious institutional views on homosexuality. If it is in fact not genetically predertermined and is partially or solely environmentally influenced, then one of their central premises falls apart.

    If you are going to make reasoned arguments to change a societal convention, then it matters the source of those arguments.

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