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kwassa's Journal
Posted by kwassa in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Jan 09th 2009, 03:50 PM
I'm fully in favor of gay marriage, but it is a historically new social concept that really hasn't existed in western society before. Like it or not, it is a new social paradigm for many people to grasp, that marriage is something different than what it has been considered for at least the past thousand years or so. The gay community has embraced and understood this concept, but the majority of the American public has not, at least judging by public opinion polls. I think most people that are not gay or have close contact with gay people even think about it at all, and when it is presented to them as an abstract question out of context reflexively respond in the negative. To them, the definition of marriage is what it has been for so long, and why should it be anything else?
I really think that most who voted for Prop 8 never thought of it as the civil rights issue that it is. This simply demonstrates the need for education on the subject.

Prop 8 was one type of poll, but the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life does the best national polls that I know of on the subject.

http://pewforum.org/docs/index.php?DocID=2...

In the time since the Massachusetts high court declared the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional in 2003, public opinion on the issue has remained relatively stable. Indeed, majorities of Americans have consistently opposed legalizing same-sex marriage – from 53% opposed in a summer 2003 survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, to 55% opposed in an August 2007 Pew survey. The 2007 poll found 36% of the public in favor of allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed, about the same as in 2003. (See An Overview of the Same-Sex Marriage Debate.)

As with many other social issues, opinions about same-sex marriage are closely linked with partisanship, ideology and religion. For instance, opposition to gay marriage is lowest among self-described liberal Democrats (26%) and highest among conservative Republicans (83%), with other ideological and partisan groups falling in between. Those who identify themselves as independents are roughly divided on the issue, with 49% opposed to same-sex marriage and 41% in favor of it.

Religion also plays an important role in determining the public’s views on the issue. Those who attend worship services once a week or more are much more likely to oppose same-sex marriage (73%) than those who attend less often (43% opposed). Opinion also varies quite dramatically across religions. About eight-in-ten evangelicals (81% of white evangelicals and 79% of black evangelicals) oppose gay marriage, while Catholics and mainline Protestants are much more divided on the issue. Indeed, the proportion of white, non-Hispanic Catholics and white mainline Protestants who oppose gay marriage (49% and 47%, respectively) is significantly smaller than among the population as a whole (55%). Hispanic Catholics’ opposition to gay marriage is similar – at 52%
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