Homo Good News Out of California
posted by May 28 at 9:26 AMon
Signaling a generational shift in attitudes, a new Field Poll on Tuesday said California voters now support legal marriage between same-sex couples and oppose a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
By 51 to 42 percent, state voters believe gay couples have the right to marry, according to a May 17-26 poll of 1,052 registered voters.
However, the same poll revealed a California electorate that remains sharply divided over gay marriage—split by age, political affiliation, religion and the regions where they live.
The right-wingers are losing the argument about same-sex marriage—a.k.a. marriage equality—and they damn well know it. The longer we engage in a national discussion about same-sex marriage—and the more people are exposed to same-sex couples and gay families—the harder it becomes for religious bigots to claim that we’re somehow a threat to the nation, to the family, to the children, to the Gulf Coast, etc. Which is why the right has worked so hard—and, in most states, so successfully—to write current prejudices into state constitutions. They know they have no choice but to lock in anti-gay prejudice now because their most reliable anti-gay voters (and donors) are dying off. That’s what the Sacramento Bee means by “generational shift,” and “split by age.”
Ironically the right’s own strategy is backfiring: one of the reasons our national conversation about same-sex marriage continues to roar along is the right’s strategy of placing unnecessary and frequently redundant anti-same-sex-marriage amendments before voters even in states where courts and legislatures haven’t moved to legalize same-sex marriage. Even in states that we’ve “lost,” even in states that have approved gay marriage bans, polls show movement toward support for marriage equality after the passage of anti-gay-marriage amendments. How’s this for irony: One day we’ll be able to repeal these amendments thanks, in large part, to the debate instigated by the passage of these amendments. Campaigns to pass anti-gay marriage amendments expose voters to pro-gay marriage arguments. Unfortunately it seems to take a while for those arguments to sink in—usually years after the vote—but the arguments do sink in. And we have the religious right to thank for all this consciousness raising.
But the polls out of California, while heartening, doesn’t get us out of the woods. On civil rights issues, people tend to tell pollsters what they think the pollsters want to hear; and younger people enjoy being polled more than they enjoying going to the polls. Still, good news out of California today.