Done Deal

“Bush, Obama pollsters see ‘dramatic’ shift toward same-sex marriage”:

In a new polling memo intended to shape politicians’ decisions on the question of same-sex marriage, the top pollsters for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama jointly argue that support for same-sex marriage is increasingly safe political ground and will in future years begin to “dominate” the political landscape.

The pollsters, Republican Jan van Lohuizen and Democrat Joel Benenson, argue in their memo (pdf link) that support for same-sex marriage is increasing at an accelerating rate and that the shift is driven by a politically crucial group, independents…

The new memo, based on public polling, makes the case that support for same-sex marriage has “accelerated dramatically in the last 2 years” and that the future almost surely belongs to supporters of same-sex marriage.

Well, yes. Because the support for same-sex marriage is the broadest with younger people, whereas it’s the older folks who are opposed to it, so time is not on the side of the opposition. Also, because we’ve had same sex marriage in the US for seven years now, starting in 2004, and the country has not devolved into a cesspool of iniquity, no matter what you might think if you read Gawker or supermarket tabloids with any regularity. And also, because who doesn’t love Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris? No one, that’s who. No. One.

Again, this is not to suggest that same-sex marriage is coming to every state in the US anytime soon — the forces of gay panic spent a lot of money and effort sticking amendments into state constitutions to assure Adam and Steve couldn’t get hitched, so it will take an equal effort to destick them — but the trend line noted above suggests it’s a “when not if” sort of thing. I’m particularly looking forward to Ohio unsticking it. That will make me feel better about my adopted state.

62 thoughts on “Done Deal

  1. I seriously doubt it will ever become accepted in Utah and Idaho, though I do hope they at least accept other states marriage licenses.

  2. This makes me happy. Now I can hope the Republican party can come down from the ledge sometime in the near future (on this one issue, at least). Alternately, the trend provides hope for a clear schism in the party between those who want big government involvement in people’s sex-related decisions, and those who want small government non-involvement in such issues.

  3. The “country has not devolved into a cesspool of iniquity”? Respectfully, it believe that it has. Just not due to same-sex marriage. For evidence I submit to you the US Congress.

  4. I’m really looking forward to twenty years from now, when the trend line suggests that everyone in the country will support gay marriage twice.

    I wonder if that will happen before or after we get buried in razor blades.

  5. It is simply because “puritanical” US culture can not fathom that there is biological sexual diversity in our species and all other species on Spaceship Earth. We should have sexual ethics, equality, respect, and responsibility. This “puritanical culture” does not readily accept public nudity, where appropriate. We don’t even have adequate sexual education from adults, parents, guardians, etc.

  6. Once support is strong enough to reverse doma, the laws of conservative states will matter less. It’s easy enough to travel to a nearby state to marry but there’s less point if your home state doesn’t recognize it.

  7. i am 24 and against gay marriage ( no not an religious person). does not matter anyway since i am not an us citizen.

  8. Fanzorc @9: the fact that support for same-sex marriage is greater among young people is not the same thing as “every young person is in favor of same-sex marriage”. Confusing those things is a pretty basic error of logic. I invite you to consider whether similar logical errors may inform your position on same-sex marriage.

  9. @ #1 – Full Faith and Credit Clause suggests they have to accept other state’s marriages.

  10. More data in support of Sir Arthur C Clarke’s view of progress: (1) It’s completely impossible. (2) It’s possible, but it’s not worth doing. (3) I said it was a good idea all along.

  11. This is great news! We’ve known about this general trend for years, but it’s awesome to see it accelerate. I long for the day that all people in committed relationships enjoy the same legal rights as my wife and I do.

    I suspect, as same-sex relationships are legally recognized in more states, the holdouts will find their stance to be a financial liability. A lot of people will be reluctant to travel to a state where their marriage isn’t recognized (fearing, for example, that their spouse won’t be allowed to make medical decisions on their behalf should they end up in the hospital), and so I could see a lot of potential convention and tourist revenue going elsewhere.

  12. I have a complaint. I was promised a cesspool of iniquity, dammit. I insist on my cesspool!

  13. I live in Massachusetts, where we’ve had gay marriage for awhile now. The disaster that was predicted to ensue if gay marriage became a reality has not arrived; the only noticeable differences between now and pre-legalization are 1) gay people are happier, and 2) politically on-the-fence people are more pro-gay-rights than they used to be. (The second of these is what conservatives actually fear.)

    In other words, come on in; the water’s fine! :-)

  14. so is today turning into “share scalzi links” day?
    finishing that project must have freed up a metric shit ton of time

    :D

  15. “@ #1 – Full Faith and Credit Clause suggests they have to accept other state’s marriages.”

    only after doma is repealed and or ruled as the unconstitutional POS that it is.
    seriously, why has doma NOT been struct down? oh right, activist GOP judges … nvm

  16. WHAT REALLY cracks me up, is when the anti-freedom people argue that gay marriage would force religions to marry gay people. are you REALLLLY that stupid for thinking that? SERIOUSLY???

    the whole point of separation of church and state is so that the state can not tell the religion what to do, who to marry and the church cant tell the state who can or can not marry.

    what the state should do is ban all state acknowledgement of marriage.
    the state would recognize legal couples for taxes, children, and what not and religions could do whatever they want and leave the rest of us alone.

    tada – separation

  17. #14 Gay folks wanting to marry don’t comprise enough of an economic engine to make a financial impact on the nation through their decisions on where to live and work.

    It’ll happen, but not because of money. As a Republican supporter, I’m glad to see the trend line going up.

  18. I read that even Texas Gov. Perry, who’s probably going to run for President as the “sane extremely-right-winger” sidestepped a question on New York’s legalizing SSM by making it a states’ rights question: “that’s their business.”

  19. Tony @ 21 – that depends on the LGBT person in question. Me? Not so much. David Geffen? Big difference. Also, companies like Google will happily open up shop in states with equality, and won’t want to ask LGBT employees to move to states that treat them like diseased child eating perverts.

  20. Tony Dye:

    “Gay folks wanting to marry don’t comprise enough of an economic engine to make a financial impact on the nation through their decisions on where to live and work.”

    But the over number of people supporting marriage equality could, however. As noted above, there are companies who take such factors into consideration, because their workers and consumers are energized on the subject.

  21. You know what else has been happening since 2004?

    No more Oldsmobile.

    THIS CANNOT BE A COINCIDENCE.

  22. Tony Dye @ 21

    #14 Gay folks wanting to marry don’t comprise enough of an economic engine to make a financial impact on the nation through their decisions on where to live and work.

    It’ll happen, but not because of money.

    I don’t know. Consider the fact that a number of large companies who gave money to the Pro-Prop 8 campaign in California realized the massive amount of stink they stepped in by doing so once people started getting angry, not to mention lost earnings when said angry people went and shopped at the donor’s competitors. Beyond large stores and companies, smaller businesses also took a large hit with people organizing protests and boycotts. I believe Coke recently pulled its business from the law firm that had initially agreed to defend DOMA (when the AG and President said they wouldn’t defend it anymore).

    Is money *the* factor that will decide things? I agree with you that it isn’t, but it is a motivator, especially when politicians start realizing that gay voters will donate to those politicians who will represent their interests (as some of the New York Legislature recently found out AFAIK).

    Gus @ 22

    I read that even Texas Gov. Perry, who’s probably going to run for President as the “sane extremely-right-winger” sidestepped a question on New York’s legalizing SSM by making it a states’ rights question: “that’s their business.”

    The man asked his state to pray for rain and he’s the “sane” candidate? Jesus…

    Anyway, it’s been the far growing trend for people who disagree with SSM to wave the states-rights banner and drive on from the issue. Obama, himself, has always used that as a mealy mouth excuse instead of simply saying he’s for or against it. Acknowledging a state’s legislatures ability to pass a law accepting or prohibiting something isn’t necessarily a statement of support.

  23. WHAT REALLY cracks me up, is when the anti-freedom people argue that gay marriage would force religions to marry gay people. are you REALLLLY that stupid for thinking that? SERIOUSLY???

    PeteC@#20: In a lot of cases, I don’t think people who run that line are stupid. They’re very smart people who know that they’re just not telling the truth. Give me a simple over a clever liar any day of the week.

  24. #7: Damn skippy. I’ve never understood why it’s perfectly okay for my husband to run around topless in public on a hot day (and here in TX we have a lot of those), but me? Not so much.

    As a culture, America needs to get over itself and recognize that sex education is important. Whether it comes from the parents or from school isn’t really the point, the point is that it needs to come from *somewhere*. Teens trying to “educate” their friends by propagating myths like “You can’t get pregnant the first time/if you do it standing up/if you wash yourself afterwards” are a lot more dangerous than parents, or other responsible adults, teaching their kids the basics and letting their kids know they can always ask Mom and Dad anything, anytime. America as a whole needs to understand that being gay/bi/poly isn’t “sinful/immoral”, it should be accepted as a fact of life. And kids need to feel safe in coming out to their parents, instead of being told they’ll “burn in hell”, being disowned/thrown out, etc.

    And, as I’ve said before, as someone on disability with chronic health issues, it saddens me greatly that I’m entitled to my husband’s medical insurance, and he has hospital visitation rights, simply because he’s M and I’m F. Same-sex couples deserve the same marriage rights in every state. What are people afraid of, that Adam and Steve are gonna start performing sexual acts on each other while one of them is lying in a hospital bed?

  25. Jennifer #30: In Austin, it’s totally legal for you to be topless anywhere it’s legal for your husband to be.

  26. Bear with me for a moment here…

    There are two philosophies in regard to legislating social change. One says that such issues should be decided on a state-by-state basis and decisions should be made by residence of those states. The other says that these issues need to be addressed on a nationwide level so that all citizens regardless of state have the same rights.

    We now see both of these philosophies in play. Gay marriage is being decided at the state level. In states where the issue gets past the legislators and signed into law the reaction of most citizens is positive or indifferent. As legislators in other states see this they’re becoming more brave and supporting similar legislation as well. Abortion, on the other hand, has been addressed nationwide as the result of a court ruling. Citizens don’t have the right or opportunity to have their state law reflect their views.

    My guess is that many of those who applaud the state decisions allowing gay marriage would abhor giving states the right to pass their own laws in regard to abortion. Likewise, many who think gay marriage shouldn’t be decided by states have no problem arguing that abortion laws should be decided in just that way.

    I think having these types of decisions decided by each state is probably the best way to go. If we tried to address gay marriage on a national level, we’d still be waiting for something to get accomplished. Likewise, those on both sides of the abortion issue have had their ability to have their voices heard in an effective manner taken away.

  27. It may be at least in part just the news stories about the people getting married. It’s one thing as a radical idea, and another to see actual photos of couples who’ve been together twenty, thirty, or fifty years, and see how happy they are to finally able to get married. I’ve always supported gay marriage, but I wonder how much seeing actual long-established gay couples rejoicing has to do with the acceptance rate.

  28. Abortion, on the other hand, has been addressed nationwide as the result of a court ruling. Citizens don’t have the right or opportunity to have their state law reflect their views.

    Of course they do. Citizens have the right and opportunity to change the law, including passing a Constitutional amendment that would overrule Roe v. Wade. And Roe also does not require that every state have the exact same laws.

    Where your analogy really falls flat is that marriage is not abortion. If you have an abortion in State A, then move to State B, you’re not suddenly pregnant again. Whereas if you marry in State A, we generally expect that State B will recognize you as married, even if you could not have married in State B. (For example, if the age of marriage is 14 in State A but 18 in State B). The idea that it’s state-by-state OR national-all-at-once is a false dilemma.

  29. @32 Erick

    Personally (as a resident of a different nation) I think marriage should be addressed federally in precisely the same manner as abortion was – as a court ruling declaring the restrictions on it unconstitutional (which it is clearly under the 14th amendment of the US constitution). The fact gay marriage is being addressed on a state by state basis is particularly sad and pathetic, no matter how much happyness and rejoicing occurs when they pass, because it reveals how profoundly broken the US legal system is.

    Also States do have the right to pass laws regarding abortion (but not to criminalize it) and a number of States have used this ability to pass (unreasonable) laws so restrictive as to defacto outlaw legal abortions. While I find these laws (and lawmakers) morally repugnant the majority of them are neither unconstitutional nor improperly impinge on federal responsibilities.

  30. Abortion, on the other hand, has been addressed nationwide as the result of a court ruling. Citizens don’t have the right or opportunity to have their state law reflect their views.

    (Freedom of speech/freedom of religion/gun control/etc), on the other hand, has been addressed nationwide as the result of a court ruling. Citizens don’t have the right or opportunity to have their state law reflect their views.

    See how that works?

  31. Silbey @ 36: Not to derail this thread too far astray, but freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to bear arms are specifically enumerated in the US constitution as being rights which fall within the purview of the federal government to enforce, something which is, for better or for worse, somewhat less clear when it comes to abortion and marriage.

  32. Right, though the Bill of Rights also specifically says that the enumerated rights shouldn’t be construed as the only ones you have, and then the Fourteenth Amendment says that state governments can’t deny you “liberty”.

    Precisely what that means comes down to case law again. In the case of marriage, the courts seem to have generally held that it is a basic right included in a reasonable notion of liberty, which places limits on what states can do to restrict it.

  33. Peter @ 20:
    WHAT REALLY cracks me up, is when the anti-freedom people argue that gay marriage would force religions to marry gay people. are you REALLLLY that stupid for thinking that? SERIOUSLY???
    Personally, I wouldn’t say stupid so much as generally misinformed and distrusting (or in some cases lying, as Craig noted). Clearly, many and possibly most US citizens haven’t read the Constitution — at least not since school, when they may or may not have been paying attention — and certainly most of us aren’t knowledgable about the implications, particularly when case law is factored in. Meanwhile, they’re bombarded by claims about what is or isn’t constitutional and what should or shouldn’t be constitutional, so no surprise that things can get a little fuzzy.

    Also, a lot of people aren’t really clear on the distinction between the religious institution of marriage and the civil recognition of marriage. To them, it’s more-or-less one thing. And of course there’s no shortage of people who intentionally gloss over that distinction to manipulate the public.

    It’s worth noting an additional irony, that if anybody was crazy enough to make some idiotic attempt at legally forcing a church to gay marry Adam and Steve, the ACLU would come down on them like a very polite ton of bricks. Despite being demonized by many on the right, the ACLU is very clear on the fact that the separation of church and state works both ways.

  34. While I support same sex marriage, the erasure of cultural divisions and dislike suppression in general, isn’t it kinda sloppy thinking to say that having 4 data points that are above 50% means that the tide is turned?
    Demographic data cannot support exponential growth. at some point it has to plateau or recede.

    I understand that Focus on the Family is being blessedly ignored lately, but I am skeptical of over reading poll data. I’ve been subject to too many polls that lead me to their desired conclusion and then dropped my call when I did not take the correct answer. Hopefully we will move away from American Sharia, and continue moving towards the rule of dignity…

    But I would not take it for granted.

  35. [Canada looks up]

    Oh, hey, yeah, you guys still aren’t done arguing about that. Huh. Well, you’ll come around sooner or later, looks like. Six years, here, now. Eight in some places. Not really an issue anymore.

    [Canada goes back to eating a doughnut]

  36. I think part of is that social issues are not that important in politics anymore. More people are beginning to realize the important issues are the economy, education, foreign policy, etc… This stuff just doesn’t matter. So who cares of someone who is gay gets married?

  37. Guess:

    That’ll last until the economy picks up and people can waste their time worrying about what the neighbors are doing again.

  38. Back int he early 2000’s I was somewhat ambivilent over Gay Marriage. I had no issue with it myself, but I could see how someone with strong religious beliefs could be very opposed to it on such grounds.

    Then I read the Bible.

    Suffice to say I no longer have much in the way of tolerance for the Religious Right anymore. The prohibitions against homosexuality are smack in the middle of other arcane laws that might have made far more sense 2,000 years ago but for most part just don’t hold up. So how one can pick and choose amongst those is really beyond me. Then when you actually read the new Testament, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in aprticular; you see that Jesus’ actual life, as documented in Christianity’s sacred text no less, is absolutely at odds with almost the entirety of the current crop of Right-wing Christians.

    Christianity forces you to be against Gay Marriage but somehow pro war? According to the Bible Jesus spent his time helping the sick, the poor, and the outcasts of society. Not fighting wars. Yet the Christianity as espoused by the politicians shows itself in voting against helping the poor, sick, and downtrodden; but is for the invasion of sovereign nations. The hypocrisy and mental gymnastics required to self rightously assert a position that is fundamentally opposite of the actual core teachings of your religion is simply staggering.

    I can only hope that there is a greater trend underlying this and that the masses are finally ready to be rid of the vocal minority of hypocrisy that has infested the current GOP.

  39. BTW Scalzi, I hope you didn’t make that “trendline” graph. If you were one of my statistics students and I saw that I’d feel compelled to fail you just on general principle.

  40. Scotpius@49-51: I suggest you look at the report (the PDF link in the post). You’ll not only see that the graph comes from that report, but that they’ve analysed a number of demographic trends to reach their conclusion.

    Especially among younger people, there is greater support for recognition of same-sex marriage. Gallup found that 70% of people under 18-34 support marriage equality. And even in conservative states, you’ll find support of marriage equality higher in the age 18-29 category.

  41. CLP,

    You’ll notice I said “I hope you didn’t make that”. Which absolves John, but makes me wonder now whether a degree in “political science” is worth the ink it’s printed with. Seriously, that “trend line” doesn’t look like something you would come up with using least squares calculations, heck it doesn’t look like something an undergrad would produce on Excel trying to maximize their r-squared value (still egregious). It looks like someone took a pencil and a bias to a scatterplot.

    Thanks for the heads-up n the link, however. Looking at the differently defined groups compiled into this one analysis, if a grad student had turned this into me I’d have put a large, red “F” on it and then used the report for years (with name attached) as what not to do.

    This is not caused by my feelings towards gay marriage which I whole-heartedly support, btw. It’s professional pride which drives me on this.

  42. Scorpius, do you know the difference between trendline and curvefit? curvefit is supposed to find a simplified model that best explains the data. Some balance must be taken between a priori justification of the fit form, using fewer fit parameters, and closely fitting the data. This is a very sophisticated endeavor, and going too far in one way would easily justify an F.

    A trendline is supposed to simplify data for which there is no a priori functional form. It should follow (more or less tightly) the twists and turns of the data. One of the ways a trendline is useful is in that it can weight points in a way that is more visually obvious than putting up a large number of error bars. By the looks of it, this particular trendline technique is LOESS, and a properly executed one. One point to be somewhat concerned with is that LOESS (and most trendline techniques) can be overly sensitive to the endpoint data, that is true (avoiding this was behind the infamous ‘trick’ in climategate emails).

    Even taking that into account, you’ve got four points way up there at the end, and a similar number of bottom points is conspicuously absent over that same time period. That’s effectively 8 data points all elevated. It is fair to draw some inference from 8 points. I personally would lower the slope at the end a bit, leaving the end of the trendline around halfway between the three highest points and that last lower point, just as a matter of a priori knowledge, but… the data do not support the line I just described.

  43. I forgot to finish off the comparison between curvefit and trendline: unless the class is specifically about making well-designed trendlines, or a curvefit under a specific model would have been more appropriate than a trendline, or the trendline is obviously malformed (tracking every point), I would not give an F for a trendline. Certainly not this one. I might criticize a student for drawing a trendline when no trendline should be drawn at all, but that’s not even a full letter grade kind of marking down.

  44. Scorpius@53: Fair enough. I agree, the treadline doesn’t belong on that plot. And I agree you have some fair criticisms of the methodology in the report.

  45. Scorpius@53:
    “I’d have put a large, red “F” on it and then used the report for years (with name attached) as what not to do.”

    Yyyyeah. So, do you have trouble getting your research proposals through ethics approval?

    I appreciate that you’re purposely being strident to emphasize an aspect of data presentation and interpretation that you feel strongly about and have a professional stake in. (Overly so, in my opinion, but it bugs you, so fine.)

    But what you’ve just described is a gross breach of professional ethics. Professors — especially tenured ones — get a lot of leeway in how they do their jobs, and the principles of academic freedom mean that they operate under far less restrictive rules of workplace behaviour than most people. But something that they do NOT get to do, under ANY circumstances, is publicly discuss or reveal grades of individual students in such a way that the student can be identified. Simply not done. Big important university policies in place to prevent it. Careful scrutiny of any research involving students by ethics review boards to prevent it. If you actually tried what you just described, you would open yourself and your university to both a giant lawsuit and a landslide of unhealthy media attention, and (I would hope) find yourself having a very uncomfortable conversation with your Dean.

  46. Holy crud, that was ‘attached‘? The notion was so absurd I dismissed it and read it as ‘detached’. Wow. Just, wow.

  47. Guys–the way to getting rid of DOMA is to make sure that don’t ask, don’t tell is staked through the heart as quickly and thoroughly as possible. The sooner, the better.

    Then find a legally-married in NY/IA/MA/RI/wherever couple, where one partner is in the military and one is not. Tally up the dollar value denied to that legally married servicemember’s spouse–base housing, medical benefits, educational benefits, commissary privileges–and write it down. Multiply by the number of military spouses being denied the benefits given without question to the spouses of straight soldiers and saliors. Add bonus multiplier for denying schools and medical care to the children (adopted or biological of the spouse) of those servicemembers, or heaven forbid death benefits to a surviving spouse. Sit back with the popcorn and a coke and watch the class-action lawsuit begin. Should be fun.

    I, for one, cannot WAIT to see the same crowd that was screaming breathlessly to support the troops sputter and cough about morality and decency, and explain how they can be so publicly “for families” while they try and prevent the children of people who have volunteered to be cannon fodder for Uncle Sam from getting health care or housing.

    So, yeah, DADT.

  48. Guys–the way to getting rid of DOMA is to make sure that don’t ask, don’t tell is staked through the heart as quickly and thoroughly as possible. The sooner, the better.

    Or, at least, one of the ways (and a very good way).

    Occurs to me that pursuing multiple ways and multiple tactics to eviscerate DOMA is a winning strategy any way you look at it.

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