New state-level polling trends and how it will spell the end of Prop 8 and similar measures

August 21, 2010 at 11:32 am 103 comments

by Adam Bink

Andrew Gelman, Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips, three professors of political science at Columbia, have a piece in today’s NYTimes on poll movement regarding marriage equality. Aside from the recent CNN poll showing more than half of Americans think the freedom to marry for same-sex couples should be a constitutional right, they point to interesting state-level data:

According to our research, as recently as 2004, same-sex marriage did not have majority support in any state. By 2008, three states had crossed the 50 percent line.

Today, 17 states are over that line (more if you consider the CNN estimate correct that just over 50 percent of the country supports gay marriage).

In 2008, the year Proposition 8 was approved, just under half of Californians supported same-sex marriage,. Today, according to polls, more than half do. A similar shift has occurred in Maine, where same-sex marriage legislation was repealed by ballot measure in 2009.

In both New York and New Jersey, where state legislatures in the past have defeated proposals to allow same-sex marriage, a majority now support it.

And support for same-sex marriage has increased in all states, even in relatively conservative places like Wyoming and Kentucky. Only Utah is still below where national support stood in 1996.

Among the five states that currently allow same-sex marriage, Iowa is the outlier. It is the only one of those states where support falls below half, at 44 percent.

On Iowa, the three authors must be using poll averaging at the state-level, because the KCCI poll in June actually showed that a majority- 53%- of those polled favor the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

The reasons for such shifts, as we all know, is because of younger generations on the side of equality. The authors point to data showing that a majority of people under age 30 support the freedom to marry.

What I’ve always wondered about NOM and their cohorts is what plan they have to reverse this trend. Strategically, how do you reverse an entire generational trend? Not only are younger people more supportive of equality, but they tend to be less and less religious as generations come. All signs point to equality- it’s just a matter of time.

If I were NOM, I’d be worried.

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Coming Monday: Your Prop 8 legal questions answered Courage’s Rick Jacobs: Meg Whitman won’t be able to defend Prop 8

103 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ann S.  |  August 21, 2010 at 11:33 am

    First? Woot!

  • 2. ĶĭŗîļĺęΧҲΪ  |  August 21, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Checking in

  • 3. OldCoastie  |  August 21, 2010 at 11:36 am

    no money for Maggie in those numbers…

  • 4. Linda  |  August 21, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Oh, the NOMbies are definitely worried. Their ‘thinking’ goes something like this: America is falling into Satan’s hands; if Godly (read Conservative, Fundie Christians) don’t do something to ‘take back’ America, then God will turn his back on our country…or worse, send all sorts of dissasters as punishment. Don’t you see??? It’s up to them to save America–God’s new chosen country and people. Otherwise we will see the end of the world.


    • 5. AndrewPDX  |  August 21, 2010 at 11:53 am

      but… if they’re really Conservative Fundie Christians doing God’s chosen work… then they’d get to go to Heaven when the world ends… wouldn’t they be working toward that end?

      Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

      • 6. Kate  |  August 21, 2010 at 11:59 am

        I always wondered about this. If they want so much to go to their mythical deity in the big sky, why do they try so hard to avoid doing just that by insisting on staying alive with respirators and such and in vegetative states when their bodies should have really died?

      • 7. Dee  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

        I actually had a youtube debate (LOL) with someone and said that. He had no reply. I don’t argue against ppl’s religious beliefs. I stick to the fact that they have no right to impose their personal beliefs on those who believe different from them, Christian and non-Christian alike.

        I basically told him well if we are in the end of times and us “icky” gays getting rights is a sign of that, then shouldnt they embrace it. The closer to the end it is the closer he is to heaven. I personally believe at the end of the day its not even about their religious beliefs. If it was they would be equal opportunity when it came to all “sins”. It’s just a bunch hypocrites that think it’s icky. smh

      • 8. Linda  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

        Ahh, but if they ‘allow’ this to happen, then they’ll be punished right along with us!

    • 9. draNgNon  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm

      and they are right! the disasters are coming! might be a good starting point to read about them…

      although I bet NOM doesn’t believe in that any more than they do in evolution

      • 10. Felyx  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm

        Such a tough life… can’t live with sin, everything is a sin, gotta go to Heaven but just not yet… fear of HELL! (Dear God!) Gotta stop those who are going to hell by first telling them they are going there and then persecuting them. Can’t bring death early without going to HELL!!! Can’t bring on the Apocalypse without going to HELL!!! Can’t sin without going to HELL!!! Everyone but me is going to HELL!!!

        No wonder the fundies are so upset about everything. Life must be miserable for them.

      • 11. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm

        Everything I’ve ever done
        Everything I ever do
        Every place I’ve ever been
        Everywhere I’m going to
        It’s a sin

      • 12. JonT  |  August 21, 2010 at 10:52 pm

        SA3008: Thanks for the blast from the past!

      • 13. Elizabeth Oakes  |  August 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

        “Everything I ever did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for.” — Chief Justice Earl Warren

    • 14. Dpeck  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      “if Godly (read Conservative, Fundie Christians) don’t do something to ‘take back’ America, then God will turn his back on our country…”

      … I have always found it very strange that these folks seem to believe that God is so preoccupied with international borders and choosing to bless or condemn people based on strict country-by-country decisions. Everyone in Italy gets blessed because that’s where the Pope lives, and everyone in Spain gets condemned because their govornment provides equal marriage rights. It just seems like such an unflattering and petty notion that implies God is some kind of petulant politican. It is as if they can’t tell the difference between God and a shallow spiteful televangelist.

    • 15. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      As a Jew, I just want to make the following observation. IN the entire history of the Jewish race, HaShem has never turned away from us, even though the way things have been written and mistranslated, misinterpreted, and redacted over the millennia, it may certainly seem as if that is the case. But it is not. Rather, when we as Jews have done things we should not, we have suffered the consevquences. HaShem has still been there to ameliorate the consequences so that they were not as severe as the forces of evil would have wanted them to be. And that is the case here. NOM is beginning to pay the consequences of their evil doing, and they are afraid. They are very afraid. They know that the end is coming, and they think that by backtracking on certain things that have occurred on their Hate tour this summer, that they can gain amelioration of the consequences of their sins. However, they must first realize that they have done wrong, and then atone for that wrong and make amends for it. Then they will see amelioration of the consequences.

  • 16. Kathleen  |  August 21, 2010 at 11:44 am


  • 17. Max  |  August 21, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Why are nonscientific polls being used here? An online poll never accurately reflects a true sample of the population.

  • 18. Sagesse  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    What is needed is a ‘good’ national poll, with ‘good’ questions (eg, binary, for or against, with no cop out civil unions option, avoiding toxic wording like ‘homosexual’, instead of gay or lesbian), conducted by a reputable polling organization using a representative sample (eg, not biased by using ‘likely voters’ which skews older, more conservative) that is repeated to derive a consistent trend, state by state and by age.

    • 19. draNgNon  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      I disagree. “likely voters” are what matters. who cares – legally and politcally speaking – if someone who doesn’t vote supports anything.

      again, if you want to look at the polling trends, look here

      if you want a better discussion of “likely voters” that site has a label for posts explaining that too.

      • 20. Kathleen  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

        It depends on whether you’re polling to see if a ballot measure will pass, or simply to gauge general public opinion. Obviously, if your concern is the former, likely voters matter. But if it’s the latter, then you don’t want to skew toward the group who are likely voters.

      • 21. Sagesse  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

        Fivethirtyeight always has something useful to add to any polling discussion. Not being an expert, I wouldn’t attempt to ‘design’ a ‘good’ poll, but consistency (asking the same question the same way) and representative sampling are important, if you want to measure a trend. A ‘good’ poll is valuable, not only for what it tells us about public opinion, but for what it tells the opposition.

        The problem with ‘conservative’ polling is that it uses design to get the result it wants… have a ‘civil unions’ option, so BB can point to dismal support for marriage equality, or poll likely voters, which similarly conveys low levels of support and lags in reporting the demographic shift in public support.

        The starting point is public opinion, which must then be converted to voter participation at the ballot box. Because of the nature of the shift in public opinion, any No on 8-type campaign has to rely heavily on voter registration/get-out-the-vote strategies. Polling likely voters tells us what we already knew, not how the demographics are shifting.


  • 22. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    What I’ve always wondered about NOM and their cohorts is what plan they have to reverse this trend.

    They have no plan to reverse the trend, much as creationists have no plan to produce actual scientific research. They rely on PR – it’s still working for the creationist, to my continuing chagrin as a scientist, but where marriage equality is concerned the NOM side is running up against a trait will deep roots even among our other primate cousins: a sense of fairness. For young people, especially, LGBT people are no longer the shadowy, dangerous “other.” Once that happens, a deeply engrained sense of fairness kicks in, the arguments fall away like the Prop 8 side’s defense, and public opinion shifts. NOM and their cronies are done for on this issue. They will milk this civil rights battle for every penny of donations, use every opportunity to delay court proceedings, legislation, and ballot measures, and – most despicable of all, and wish I could say otherwise but I think this is the truth – to hurt as many LGBT people as they can. Yes, I think they are sadistic. Care to counter me on that, Louis?

    • 23. Kathleen  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      Couldn’t have said it as well.. Love, K

    • 24. Dave in ME  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      Weren’t we told that they will keep pushing for a federal constitutional amendment? Even if the majority of Americans don’t care about or support marriage equality, there’s still that option they have!!

      • 25. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm

        Oh, they’ll keep pushing, but that’s a massive uphill battle, and it literally gets harder every year – and certainly with each state that clicks into the marriage equality column, causing a huge states’ rights headache for the so-called social conservatives. i know they have to put on a good face and say that marriage equality is not inevitable and that a federal marriage amendment could pass, but I wonder if, deep down, they really believe it? Again, I’ll be cynical and say no.

      • 26. JonT  |  August 21, 2010 at 10:57 pm

        They’ll keep pushing – probing for an weakness, much like the abortion debate today.

        Abortion is legal, but yet you still see the protests, the occasional murder of a doctor, and the continuing attempts to further restrict choice via laws.

        That’s all people like this can do. Must be a pretty empty existence.

      • 27. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 22, 2010 at 11:11 am

        JonT, a big difference I see is that the shift in public opinion toward favoring marriage equality has been clear and, given the power of the Religious Right in this country, astonishing. For abortion, the battle lines have been pretty stagnant since the late 90s, with pro-life actually winning out in a recent poll. Although I often stress my opinion that one they lose the marriage equality battle the Religious Right will redouble its attack on science and history, abortion will likely be an issue they can always rely on for political and fundraising points, so they may choose to divert their attention there.

    • 28. Bryan  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm

      I completely agree. I always point to shows like Glee– in a single season, they’ve touched on coming out, parental acceptance, the bullying of LGBT kids, and even the toxicity of derogatory words– and kids are growing up watching it! It’s hard for the younger generation to be anything other than pro-marriage equality when gay people feel so tangible to them.

      • 29. Ray in MA  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm

        Remember “Room 222” – Walt Whitman High – LA ?

        A different generation… a diiferent set of issues… impacted many kids at that time.

      • 30. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm

        I remember Room 222, especially the prinicpal, Michael Constantine. And I also remember that Karen Valentine was one of the teachers. Good show. I think Glee is an updated, music-focused reincarnation.

      • 31. PamC  |  August 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm

        I remember room 222–had it bad for Susan Dey.

        And yes, shows that touch on important issues do help personalize or make the issues more real–I was 11-13 watching All in the Family & Maude, and I also recall the Smothers Brothers, which I loved. Even Laugh-In made its political points.

        In the movie, “Iron-Jawed Angels,” when a sweatshop worker questions why the vote is so important, she’s answered, “Your vote equals a fire escape.” (Several sweatshops had suffered severe fires in those days, many of which resulted in death for all the women workers due to lack of exits & no fire escapes for upper levels.)

        Make it relevant, make it personal, make it real–the kids are watching and listening.

        And whether they have a plan or not–they’re doomed. The kids are growing up, and they think we’re all right.

      • 32. PamC  |  August 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm

        “whether they have a plan or not” — sorry for not identifying my referent! By “they” I mean the hateful NOMers, etc.

      • 33. JonT  |  August 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm

        @Bryan: Exactly. And that scares the shit out of them.

        They’ve already lost the war, but they’ll still keep fighting it. Some people are just lost, and can never be found again.

  • 34. Owen  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    I think some of the numbers used are kind of optimistic given how the gay marriage/unions ballot measures actually perform.

    Example: as recently as 2008, Florida passed a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, and adoption all at once with 60 percent support! They weren’t just banning marriage, they were banning civil unions and adoption, and it still got 60 freakin percent.

    But it is very true that things are definitely tipping in our favor somewhat rapidly, and it’s only going to get more favorable to us as the younger generations take over.

    You’re FINISHED, NOM.

    • 35. JT1962  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

      Owen, Florida’s amendment 2 in 2008 wasn’t a measure that banned all three events in one fell swoop. It simply stated “This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.” It needed 60% of the voters to pass it and it got 62%. Please also remember that it was a Presidential election year and so it got more than it would have any other year. But you do need to remember that Florida has a higher percentage of senior citizens, the main group against same-xex marriage so I really feel it was going to pass no matter what.

      • 36. PamC  |  August 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm

        JT, you’re right; FL is one of those “skewed” states, like Utah, whose population is socially conservative (even the older gays, by and large!).

  • 37. Papa Foma  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Look at who is in Florida – how old they are – how much it even matters to them, and how much time they have on their hands to vote – – – Maybe it’s like California. Elections are based on the voters, not necessarily the populace.
    I ain’t givin’ up hope!

    • 38. Owen  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      I don’t want to give up any hope, I just think when you’re dealing with the very serious issue of trying to secure our rights at the ballot, our approach should be as accurate and results-based as possible.

      Unfortunately, polling data like this consistently fails to match the results at the ballot box.

      I guess the best thing would be to assume that 55% support in the polls, rather than 51%, is needed to win at the ballot due to the typical backlash we see once folks like NOM use their scare tactics.

      • 39. Bryan  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

        Just curious– is there any evidence of a Bradley effect with regard to marriage equality?

      • 40. RAJ  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

        My understanding is that there is. Dale Carpenter mentions that pre-election favorable polling numbers are consistently about 10 points behind post election results for marriage equality.

      • 41. ĶĭŗîļĺęΧҲΪ  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm


        Funny you should mention securing our rights.  Personally, I don’t believe in pursuing popular support: not because I think it takes too much time to let people see that there is no danger from us, that we are normal people and that we deserve same rights; no, it is because our rights have to be secured and supported by something more than sheer popularity which could be transient and thus could change in the future.

        Instead, we need courts proclaiming that it is unconstitutional to discriminate against based on a certain immutable characteristic of persons, and sexual orientation should be on the list of those characteristics.  Plain and simple.

        Voters’ opinions change all the time, in circles / waves / phases; but courts’ decisions (that once recognized the harm, revealed evidence of that and found bigots guilty of discrimination for no good reason) will stand forever in a free society that remembers that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our most basic rights that can never be played with, ignored or denied.

        — ♂KF

      • 42. RAJ  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm

        to ĶĭŗîļĺęΧҲΪ

        Exactly. Imagine the prospect of having your right to marry validated or invalidated at every election cycle. By agreeing to abide by ballot measures with respect to this issue, we are potentially agreeing to a lifetime of uncertainty.

      • 43. ĶĭŗîļĺęΧҲΪ  |  August 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm


        Imagine the prospect of having your right to marry validated or invalidated at every election cycle.

        That’s what has been going on in California for a decade now!

        ×  March 2000:  Proposition 22 banned same-sex marriage statewide with a simple statute.
        √  February 2004:  San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
        ×  August 2004:  California Supreme Court ruled those marriages were void.
        √  May 2008:  California Supreme Court struck down Proposition 22 as contrary to state constitution.
        ×  November 2008:  Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriage statewide yet again, but with a constitutional amendment this time.
        √  August 2010:  Federal Judge Walker ruled Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

        This is a roller-coaster of marriage equality history in California, and until we have our courts declaring the Will of the People cannot take away our rights, we may have to witness these ups and downs on the rocky road toward our eventual victory.

        — ♂KF

      • 44. Dpeck  |  August 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm


        Wow, I am impressed! There are a lot of people here in California who are not as well informed about California’s history of marriage equality as you are. Well done, sir!

      • 45. Ann S.  |  August 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm

        @Bryan, based on the pre-election polling for Prop 8, a lot of us thought we’d succeed in defeating it at the polls, despite being cautioned of a “Bradley effect”. I think it is very real.

      • 46. Owen  |  August 22, 2010 at 10:29 am

        I’m not even suggesting that there’s a “Bradley Effect” per se.

        The problem, I think, lies in the fact that a significant chunk of the people who respond to these polls in favor of gay rights are very easily swayed to the other side.

        There’s a group – I’d estimate it around 5% of the voters – who are subject to the scare tactics used in campaigns like that of “Yes on 8.” They’re mostly housewives with children who generally support gay rights, but are afraid of “what will be taught to their children in schools.”

        I agree with you, actually, Kirille. I think the best recourse is by far the court system for the very reasons you mention.

        The problem is that:

        1. The courts take a while, so we still have to find another course of action in the meantime (it looks like SCOTUS won’t even touch this issue until a new challenge is issued in a different state, which could take years and years).

        2. Individual Supreme Courts in various states have shown to be less inclined to rule in our favor, so winning the battles by state is something we should consider doing by popular opinion as we approach this tipping point.

        We really have no choice for now. There’s no sense in just laying down and being passive as we wait for the issue to finally reach the highest courts.

        It’ll be interesting to see what happens in 2012. There are possible ballot initiatives on tap in Colorado and Oregon.

      • 47. RAJ  |  August 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

        @ Owen

        “It’ll be interesting to see what happens in 2012. There are possible ballot initiatives on tap in Colorado and Oregon.”

        Don’t forget California. There is a very real possibility if the marriage issue has not been resolved yet here, there will be another ballot measure.

  • 48. IT  |  August 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    First, the reason the opposition has put this into state Constitutions is that they are hard and expensive to amend. So that’s a little poison pill, state by state, with which we will have to contend, unless or until there is something sweeping at the federal level.

    Second, Brian and Maggie are getting rich from all of this.

    Don’t forget that CNN’s poll saw support for marriage equality drop if civil union were an option.

    But I do like to remind people that Prop8 was losing by 51% in June of ’08. That was before the pro-H8 side got their fear-mongering ads up. So 51% isn’t worth anything–it’s soft.

    And it’s been shown that polls routinely understate the opposition to equality. Why, is not clear. But unless we poll at well over 51% we will lose.

    • 49. Straight Grandmother  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      I agree with IT, those are the numbers now but wait until they drag out their “Gathering Storm” commercials and gear up their campaigns, the majority switch teams. I think you neeed an overwhelming strong majority to win in the voting booth.

      I don’t care to win that way anyway, why should anyone have the ability to vote on my children’s rights? I am for going to court, win or loose. At least we tried.

    • 50. RAJ  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm

      I with IT agree as well. Polls showing a slim majority of support for marriage equality should ALWAYS be taken with a grain of salt. Currently the support should be considered so soft and easily peeled away that any further ballot measures are probably foolish. I’m pleased to see support trends improving but I feel bruised.

      Also, the loss in Maine is not as easy to spin in our favor. Coming, as it did, right on the heels of prop 8 when we were supposed to have had their play-book right in front of us, learned our lessons and so forth, yet we still lost. And with slightly worse numbers.

      Personally I’m done with ballot measures and the indignity of having the electorate vote on me. I regard all these ballot measures as illegitimate and so will no longer participate in them.

      I will support organizations like AFER because the courts are the way to go.

      • 51. JC in CA  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

        Here, here! My dollars are not going for another ballot initiatives. If it was wrong to vote on Prop 8, it ain’t all of a sudden right to vote on repealing Prop 8. I prefer to support groups like AFER for their work in the courts and to Courage Campaign for their great work in educating people through P8TT and PSAs.

      • 52. Straight Grandmother  |  August 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

        “Personally I’m done with ballot measures and the indignity of having the electorate vote on me.”

        A truer sentence has never been written.

    • 53. Ann S.  |  August 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks, IT, that’s very good information.

    • 54. Sheryl Carver  |  August 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      For those who are much more skilled at PR …

      is there any way to get the info into the MSM about how MG & BB are financially profiting from their fear-mongering?

      I’d love to see their base hear about this. Some would continue anyway, but others might reconsider.

      • 55. IT  |  August 22, 2010 at 10:13 am

        The problem is that the MSM is not interested in news or reporting, it is interested in ratings and $$$, and feeding a sorry lowest-common-denominator form of entertainment. Despite their conservative tendencies, whenever they report something unflattering to the conservatives, they are accused of having liberal bias. Ergo they bend over backwards to avoid that, being almost as craven as the Democrats in Congress.

      • 56. Sheryl Carver  |  August 22, 2010 at 10:58 am

        Too true, IT.

        In my naive view of the world, though, it seems like a show like “60 Minutes” would have the courage to do at least a short segment on”What Really Drives the Leaders of the Anti-Equality Organizations?”

        We all can dream, right?

    • 57. Elizabeth Oakes  |  August 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks for posting the Daily Kos article, IT. I’ve been curious to see the numbers on Gallagher and Brown, and it looks much like I suspected. I’d love to be a fly on the IRS’s wall when they go over the filings from NOM to see what chunk of NOM’s donations go into their pudgy pockets.

  • 58. lee  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    i was thinking about The Nom rally in north carolina their was alot more equality supporters then Nom supporters there. i would really like to see the polls there, im really happy about how things have changed.

  • 59. Tony P  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I know when they surveyed here in RI a year or so ago those 18-29 supported marriage equality at 82%. And recent polling proves it, 2/3’s favor equality in RI.

    Yet we don’t have it yet.

    • 60. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      Tony, isn’t Gov. Carcieri the biggest hurdle right now? I’m trying to get a sense of how things might go when he’s out of office.

      • 61. truthspew  |  August 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

        Carcieri really doesn’t matter. He’s a figurehead and sure he’d veto but the legislature would override.

  • 62. John D  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    One thing I find very interesting about the poll is that the higher you go, the faster you get. On one end, Utah has shown a gain of 10 percentage points (12–22), but Massachusetts has risen 29 percentage points.

    I haven’t calculated the all out, but if you look at the list, most have nearly doubled (I kept getting 1.8 as I divided numbers). So for every person in Utah who supported marriage equality in 1994, there are about twice as many (assuming Utah’s population hasn’t shrunk in the last six years).

    Obviously, we can’t continue this trend forever. We won’t be at 116% support in Massachusetts in 2016 (or ever, because you can’t). And even in the more liberal states, we’ll see a leveling off of support. I personally could live with 10% of the population saying, “you know, I don’t really approve of it, but I guess I gotta live with it.”

    We are winning. Maybe even faster than we might think.

    • 63. John D  |  August 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm

      Um…. sixteen not six. Well I never claimed to be a brilliant mathematician (or any type of mathematician). That does postpone my 116% for Massachusetts until 2026.

  • 64. Dick Mills  |  August 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    If you were NOM, Adam, you would be employeed by billionaires who probably are much less interested in marriage-equality, than they are in exploiting wedge issues to dupe voters into voting against their own best interests.

    • 65. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm


  • 66. Bose  |  August 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    What I’ve always wondered about NOM and their cohorts is what plan they have to reverse this trend. Strategically, how do you reverse an entire generational trend?

    NOM seems committed to being Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Tradition is all they’ve got to run on, and so they will run it until the wheels fall off.

    The Tevye metaphor works to the extent that Tevye could not conceive of the faintest possibility that his world might be changing around him, and he started with blind allegiance to the expectation that his ways would prevail.

    It fails because NOM is rejecting other families, while Tevye struggled with his own wife and daughters. NOM supporters won’t be affected much by marriage equality when it happens, while Tevye lost everything.

    The difficult part for me to parse is that Ivy-Leaguers like Maggie and Brian must understand their role in the arc of history. If they are fortunate enough to healthy and aware into their 80s and 90s, they’re guaranteed to see marriage equality, but more importantly, they’re going to have cherished family members (grand- or great-grand-kids) in same-sex families.

    Will they take the Nancy Heche route, and still be revered by a tiny group, but shunned by their families, or boycotting family events which are too gay for their taste?

    Or will they be threading a microscopic needle, telling their progeny that they still love them but hate their choice of partner?

    • 67. IT  |  August 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm

      They’ll be rich,which increasingly I think is all they REALLy care about. Having fleeced the True Believers for years, they’ll settle into a comfortable retirement with solid investments.

      • 68. Joel  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:01 pm

        Not if they have to pay Olsen and Boies’ bill, they won’t!

      • 69. Ray in MA  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm

        Yup, IT… going after a Const Amendment would secure YEARS of sucking in money and financing BB and Haggie’s 6 figure salaries.

        Disgusting way to make a living.

    • 70. Carpool Cookie  |  August 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      Fiddler on the Roof is what broke me up with “god”, at age 7. I was so upset that Tevye considered his daughter “dead” after she married outside the faith. (And she had the best song in the show, too!) My mom had to explain why Tevye disowned her about three times….and I decided I hated Tevye and all religious zealots and their oh so precious “gods” and their stupid….ASS faces!

  • 71. Linda  |  August 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I have a question–
    If DOMA is repealed, wouldn’t that take some of the teeth out of the state laws re: marriage? For example, my gf and I plan to relocate to Atlanta, GA; SSM is not legal in GA. But if DOMA is repealed, then if we went to a state that does allow SSM, got married there, but still lived in GA, wouldn’t our marriage still be recognized federally? Wouldn’t we still have all the federal rights and protections granted to married couples? Am I not thinking right, here?

    • 72. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm

      (the more law-competent can correct me here, but…)

      DOMA only applies to federal recognition of marriages within a state, so if DOMA is repealed, in states where SSM is legal (including, I assume, DC), you also get federal recognition, if it’s illegal, the status quo is kept. The one potentially tricky thing is if a state recognizes SSM from outside of the state even though they are not performed in the state (e.g., New York). I would imagine that whatever such a state would recognize as a legal marriage would also get federal recognition within that state.

      • 73. Linda  |  August 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

        Ohhhhhhhhh…..I see…..bummer. :(
        Thanks for the clarification, though.

      • 74. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm

        No problem, Linda, and I’m sorry you have to deal with this nonsense. Decades from now, they’ll shake their heads at us, but at least we’ll be able to say we were on the right side of history.

    • 75. Straight Grandmother  |  August 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      Linda, if you love her and want to commit to her for the rest of your life then jsut get married, be happy:) Don’t let the issue of it not being recognized in one state verses the other state stop you. After you say your wedding vows in your hearts you will always be maried no matter what a particular state law says.

      My daughter married in Virginia with a big family wedding the whole shebang. Was her marriage recognized by the state? No. But to everyone who matters to my daughter and her wife, all of them, consider them maried and treat them as married.

      • 76. Linda  |  August 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm

        @S G–
        Thanks for your encouragement. We will get married; I’d just feel so much better if I knew she was protected–legally–should anything happen to me. I guess we all feel that way. We love, we marry, we work together to build our lives and our future….but if tragedy strikes it can all be erased, and our loved ones are left with nothing but grief.

        I don’t want that for her.

      • 77. Anonygrl  |  August 21, 2010 at 9:35 pm


        If you are in a state that does not recognize SSM, then you need to take precautions about that very issue, sadly. Talk to a good, sympathetic lawyer who can help you determine what hoops you have to jump through to protect yourselves. I hate to say that you should do this, because it is terrible that you have to, but please do what you can to take care of yourselves, ahead of the law catching up to equality in your state.

        And I hope that your lives together are filled with joy!

      • 78. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm

        Also, LInda, to add to what Anonygrl said, a good place to start, when it comes to the paperwork, is to contact Carrie and Elisia started this precisely to help all of us navigate the confusing world of marital issues and protections for our spouses.

      • 79. Linda  |  August 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm

        @Anonygrl and Richard–
        Thank you for your advice.

        It’s ironic, isn’t it? According to the homophobes, we’re just a bunch of perverted sex fiends. Yet look at us–struggling desperately to make life commitments; many of us enduring months (if not years) of living far away from our loved ones. We face ridicule and are accused of shoving our private lives in others’ faces, when we would give anything to be free to live our lives in privacy. We are chastised for having the audacity to choose who we would love. We are scorned for not giving up that love. We are despised for desiring to live as freely as everyone else.

        We are not demanding special treatment; we are insisting on equal treatment. We will not be hushed like errant children.

        We ARE. We will not be denied; we will not be erased. We ARE.

      • 80. Straight Grandmother  |  August 22, 2010 at 1:34 am

        @Linda, to follow up on what Anonygrl said, my daughter and her partner did go to a lawyer and get a private domestic partnership agreement drawn up that they signed.
        I know the Unitarian church will marry you. Their national catherdral is in Washington DC in a very nice neighborhood and it is a beautiful church. Gender Neutral marrriage is legal in DC but not sure if you have to be a resident or not.

        Look at it this way, do you loose anything any rights or benefits by not getting married, even if it is not state recognized?

      • 81. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

        @ Straight Grandmother: there is no residency requirement for a DC marriage. There is however, the fact that there is a three-day processing period on the marriage license, and the most recent check BZ and I did on their website indicated that they were running 8-10 weeks behind on performing marriages.

  • 82. Breaking the Silence  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I’d like to second Sagesse’s point that shifts in public opinion must in turn be represented at the ballot box. So simple and important, but seemingly so difficult to get into practice. I have this gut feeling that if the well of simply “rational thinking” Americans could be substantially and consistently tapped, good things would happen. Maybe that’s an overly optimistic & simplistic view.

    • 83. IT  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      I think it is optimisitc, when 20% of Americans seem to be living in a different reality (the number who think Obama is a Muslim, for example)

      • 84. Breaking the Silence  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:34 pm

        Indeed.. And a high proportion of that 20% alone likely fits in that “likely voter” category. :/

      • 85. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 21, 2010 at 4:03 pm

        Not to mention the 25-40% (depending on how the question is asked) who don’t believe in evolution.

        However, on the subject of shifting voting patterns, consider Prop 22 (2000; 61% yes, 39% no) and Prop 8 (2008; 52% yes, 48% no).

      • 86. RAJ  |  August 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

        I agree these numbers are very encouraging. I hope and believe the societal shift currently underway continues. But imagine the disaster for marriage equality if some subsequent ballot measure here in California showed a DECREASE in support. While I don’t think this is likely, there is the phenomenon of so called “wrong-way-voting”. According to some reports, the Noon8 side was actually the net beneficiary there. If next time, we do even slightly worse, marriage equality opponents would milk that for all it was worth. I’m not anxious to see that and that makes me skittish about another vote.

      • 87. Sheryl, Mormon Mother of a wonderful son who just happens to be gay  |  August 22, 2010 at 9:47 am

        I’d like to add that the wording of a ballot issue also comes into play. In my opinion, a percentage (hopefully, very small) may have voted No on 8 not because they believe in marriage equality but because they see the bigger picture in voting to take away a right that already exists. That really was the crux of Prop 8, take a right away from a group of tax-paying, law-abiding citizens of the state. It is my opinion that it was this matter that had so many of us believing that it would not pass. And the other side played the trump card oh so well — protect the children.

        Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 88. Johan de Vries  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Well, I have actually asked the question on the NOM blog (with a link to a Gallup graph that shows the increase in gay and lesbian support). Unfortunately, it appears I am systematically denied by them. I think I may have been a tad critical to them in earlier days. Still, even now that I occasionally try to post in there, in more careful wording, I’m denied.

    Bottom line, don’t expect any answers directly from NOM. They don’t like tough questions, although that isn’t really a surprise of course…

  • 89. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    NOM is already worried. that is why their rhetoric has recently turned so Fred Phelpsian, and why people are beginning to see that NOM is the new WBC. They are growing more desparate by the day, and they know that the funds and the supporters are running out.

    • 90. Straight Grandmother  |  August 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm

      RAW, yes Maggie and Brian are really shrill since their failed Summer of (hetro only) tour and the verdict on Prop 8. However I betcha money that they are working right now on a Constituitional Amendment Project and this will bring in the funds.

      • 91. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm

        Yes, and as long as it will take for them to even get Congress to consider a constitutional amendment, they should both be able to pay off their mortgages, and Brian will be able to fund the tuition for his six children to go to college.

        BTW, is the olive oil you produce kosher? Would like to get some from you. See me on FB.

  • 92. Dpeck  |  August 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Prop8 Trial Tracker makes the news again! Recent comments from our straight ally John and follow up comments that appeared here in the August 17th thread have been quoted in the San Francisco Bay Times, one of the widely read LGBTQ newspapers in San Francisco. I was pleased to stumble upon the article this morning as I was reading the Bay Times in my favorite Castro coffee house (my regular Saturday morning routine) . Here’s a link to the in-line version. The quotes begin in paragraph #8:

    • 93. Straight Grandmother  |  August 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      NICE :)

    • 94. Ray in MA  |  August 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm

      All in all, it makes our legal equality feel more valuable.

      It emphasizes how precious it is.

  • 95. PamC  |  August 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I’m with the optimists; Will Phillips has my heart.

    • 96. Ray in MA  |  August 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm

      Hiyah Pamzee.

  • 97. Paul in Minneapolis  |  August 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    If I were NOM, I’d be worried.

    I love Karma!

  • 98. Lee  |  August 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Have any of you guys actually been polled on the topic of gay marriage? I haven’t. I’d love to give them an earful. lol

    • 99. ElsieH  |  August 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

      No on SSM but I gave an earful to the DNC when they called. Ranted to them about our “fierce advocate” and told them the gAyTM was closed until showed real progress on ENDA, DADT and DOMA.

      The woman had the gall to say that if I didn’t give them any money even my “minor” concerns wouldn’t be addressed if the Republicans regained congress.

      • 100. Ann S.  |  August 22, 2010 at 9:21 am

        How dare she say “minor”! That is outrageous.

        It’s true that the Republicans would be far worse, though, as mediocre as the present state of progress is.

  • 101. DK  |  August 21, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I moved from CA to CT a few years ago (and was devastated when Prop 8 passed). My state of residence legalized marriage equality and I felt great about that, and yet just today there was a brief note about three couples getting married at a local B&B and I was upset and angry and sad to see how many of the comments were negative–same old stereotypes and trotting out of “values” and “tradition”. (Not surprising I guess when I see all the anti-Muslim sentiments in comments on the NYC issue.) We clearly have a LONG way to go in terms of attaining “a more perfect union”.


    • 102. AndrewPDX  |  August 22, 2010 at 10:02 am

      Well, even in the Loving v Virginia case that removed interracial restrictions on marriage, it took like 30 years before the polls finally showed the majority being in favor.

      Even after DOMA, DADT, Prop8 and all is completely, irrevocably struck down throughout the country… it will still be quite a few years for the polls to fully support us.

      But that does not mean it’s not worth fighting for.

      Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

      • 103. IT  |  August 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

        Not till 1991 did a plurality of Americans approve of inter-racial marriage; the Loving decision was in 1967.

        One might easily argue that if it hadn’t BEEN for Loving, it would ahve taken even longer.

        Still, it is also worth noting that Loving came about after most states had abandoned such laws. In California, laws against inter-racial marriage were overturned in 1947 (Perez v. Sharp) which was 20 years PRIOR to the Supreme COurt.

        In marriage equality issues, remember it was only in 2003 that laws against gay sex were outlawed, only in 2004 that Massachusetts started marrying GLBT couples. That is a very, very short time.

        We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.


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