Poll on California Marriage Not Encouraging

Timothy Kincaid

May 27th, 2008

The LA Times took a poll on public response to the California Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the ban on same-sex marriage. The response was:

    29% – Strongly approve
    12% – Somewhat approve
    10% – Somewhat disapprove
    42% – Strongly disapprove
    7% – Don’t know

And as to whether they would support an amendment to reverse the decision (registered voters)

    54% – For
    35% – Against
    10% – Don’t know
    1% – Would not vote

The Times found this to be inconclusive

the poll suggests the outcome of the proposed amendment is far from certain. Overall, it was leading 54% to 35% among registered voters. But because ballot measures on controversial topics often lose support during the course of a campaign, strategists typically want to start out well above the 50% support level.

However, if we compare the polling to the vote on Proposition 22 – an anti-gay marriage legislative initiative on the Spring 2000 ballot – it is hard to maintain a rosy view of the future. Seven months before the election, polling showed support at 57%, opposition at 39% and uncertainty at 4%. The month before the election, 5% had moved from support to uncertain. But on election day, 61% of those who went to the polls voted to restrict the rights of their gay neighbors.

If the same pattern holds, in November this new anti-gay amendment will also pass by significant numbers.

But there is one card we hold that we did not have eight years ago. Unless the court issues a stay, Californians will not be asked to prohibit possible future marriages, they will be asked whether lives that have been joined should be put asunder. It ceases to be abstract and becomes personal.

So I ask this of you fellow gay Californians who are considering taking this step: Invite your friends and relatives. It may break your budget to double your guest list but do it anyway. Even if you have to limit yourself to cake and punch in the church’s rec hall. Even if you really don’t want to see Aunt Edna and hear her snide remarks on your special day, invite her anyway. Invite everyone and anyone that might be even slightly happy for you.

And be certain that your minister tells those present that “forever hold your peace” means that they have to support this union, in person and at the ballot box, and they are obligated to do what they can to keep it together, happy, and legal. Marriage is not just a commitment between two people. It is also a commitment between the couple and the community.

Aunt Edna may not like gay marriage. But make sure she is invested in your gay marriage. Make your marriage matter to your friends, your family, and your neighbors. Give them a reason to vote against this discriminatory amendment.

Jason D

May 27th, 2008

California is such a weird place. It’s got LA and San Francisco, which are both crawling with homosexuals, it’s just hours away from Vegas, it’s home to the weirdest most off the wall people and yet, over half the registered voters (at least in this poll) can’t handle two men getting hitched? Clearly the celebrities either aren’t registered, or are nowhere near as liberal as you’d expect for people who play “pretend” for a living.

Martin Lanigan

May 27th, 2008

I remind Californians of the words of Thomas Jefferson’s 1st Inaugural, 1801:

“Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

Perry Hoffman

May 27th, 2008

California has always been weird. We voted for Jerry Brown and then Ronald. There is definitely more work ahead!


May 27th, 2008

Man, I don’t know if I’m more sad we had to move away from California for a while, or relieved that I won’t have to go through all the hand-wringing and stress of the next six months until the election.

That said, I do want to move back to California eventually, as I love it there, and I hope the amendment fails and the court’s decision stands. I’ll be trying to do what awareness support I can from the other side of the country.

Ben in Oakland

May 27th, 2008

I would have to say that I am optimistic. I think it is possible we can win, though I would agree that it is not likely. 30 years ago, when I fought against the briggs initiative that would have banned gay teachers, the figures were much the same, By election time, we turned it around to a 57-43 victory. 30 years ago!

It all depends on these factors:

1) Who comes out against. Reagan was, and that made a difference.

2) how much money is available. Send you dollars to Equality California, not national organzations. They need it the most. I would hope that people like david Geffen, Barbara streisand, Stevne spielberg, and a host of others make the commitment, not only of their money, but their names.

3) Who comes out of the closet. not just celebrities, but ordinary people. One of the things that hapened was lots of ordinary people came out in droves. I myself came out to the last three people that were important to me, afraid of their reaction, but knowing that it was a personal and political necessity.

4) who else lends their support. Anyone know Oprah?

5) and most important of all what kind of campaign they run. If they do what they did with Prop. 22– hey everyone, lets be nice and tolerant and diverse– then we don’t have a chance. When I saw what they were doing, I refused to donate money, because the strategy had been tried before and just does not work.

They need to show the real impact– people with kids, people unable to get pensions and health insurance, people together for 40 years with less rights than Brittany and jason had for the 15 hours the were married.

and they need to confront the issue of prejudice and homohatred full on, especially the religious issues. Sally Kern would be the perfect poster girl.

No one is ever going to convince the people who are irretrievably poisoned by their hate and fear. no one is ever going to reach the people who make their livings and political power by trashing gay people and our lives. No one is ever going to reach the people who support their prejudices by cherry-picking the bible to suit their purposes.and we shouldn’t waste our time trying.

But I think there are a lot of people who are undecided on the matter, and even some of the ones who are ‘decided’ are still open.

Bob Schwartz

May 28th, 2008

Ben is correct. There is a large group of uncommitted, undecided folk in the middle, certainly including “soft” current support to the (likely) ballot referrendum. The campaign against the referrendum needs to condemn our opponents as bigots against civil equality. It needs to mobilize our own gay community (and our allies) to take a public, out-of-the-closet stance, and get out to vote.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Demand respect by standing up to fight. Americans respect fighters.


May 28th, 2008

Timothy, thanks for posting this information. Hey, a new poll reported today shows a slim majority of Californians actualy *in favor* of gay marriage. See the link below:



May 29th, 2008

There’s an important difference between what happened in 2000 and what might happen this year: Prop. 22 was on the ballot of a primary election which had a low turnout (about 20% of registered voters). That’s always going to favor the side that feels the strongest about the issue, and on most gay issues, that’s the antis. But this year’s general election is expected to have record turnout, so both the pros and the antis will be voting.

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