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GLAAD Harris Interactive Survey: More Public Support

Timothy Kincaid

December 3rd, 2008

GLAAD has released a new survey by Harris Interactive that shows increased support for a number of the gay community’s goals:

  • 49% of adults favor marriage equality; 49% oppose when presented with an up or down decision.
  • When given options, 38% favor marriage; 38% favor civil unions while disallowing marriage; and 22% wish for no legal recognition at all.
  • 69% oppose adoption discrimination.
  • 64% favor overturning DADT.
  • 63% favor trans-inclusive Hate Crimes Legislation
  • 51% support trans-inclusive ENDA, 45% do not. They didn’t inquire about non-discrimination laws that did not include transgender persons.
  • 47% support immigration rights; 48% do not. This one surprises me and may be a result of the phrasing of the question: Do you favor or oppose… allowing gay Americans to sponsor their non-American life partners to become residents of the United States.

One thing that I found fascinating is that issues of homosexuality are sharply dividing Mainline Christians from Evangelical Christians. In all questions, Mainline Christians were gay-favorable and Evangelicals were among the least favorable.

This was particularly evident on issues that were in traditional areas of Christian activism (pre-Religious Right). For example, on the ENDA question, Mainline was the most supportive of all demographics while Evangelical was the least.

As the issues surrounding sexual orientation become more instilled in the war over religious dominance in the culture, a possible positive side effect could be that the non-religious come to see this as a sectarian battle and opt out of anti-gay efforts.

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David C.
December 3rd, 2008 | LINK

One of the principal divisions between Mainline and Evangelical Christian sects is a literal reading of the Bible. Mainline Christians tend to treat the bible as more allegorical and historical. Evangelicals really do believe that the Bible “is inerrant. It was without error in all of its claims about the nature of the world and the nature of God”. This difference is actually profound in its implications.

Here is a link to a short article that explains some of the differences fairly directly but without deep analysis.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jesus/evangelicals/evmain.html

I think this gives us a clue as to where we should look in faith communities for allies in the struggle for gay freedoms.

Timothy Kincaid
December 4th, 2008 | LINK

David C.,

It also illustrates for us that many of the “leaders” of our community are out of touch.

We have natural allies in those churches who, for religious reasons, are completely dedicated to bringing about equality. They support gay rights not just because it’s a good liberal idea, but because they sincerely believe that they are doing God’s work – loving their neighbor, empowering the (polically) weak, and bringing justice to the oppressed.

In some parts of the state, much of the No on 8 work was being done by church groups.

Yet for some reason, the Campaign kept them mostly hidden and did not utilize their unique ability to speak from a position of moral authority.

Let’s hope that the new leadership which is growing out of the Prop 8 fiasco will be willing to include Mainstream Christianity into our quest for equality.

David C.
December 4th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,

Clearly, faith groups that support gay rights should be given every opportunity to do so.

I think there has been, and continues to be, an ongoing distrust by many gay people of anything or anyone associated with organized religion simply because of the historical enmity shown by some religions towards homosexuality. This is something that not only gay leaders but individual gay people need to overcome.

Obviously, we need to reach out to everyone and every organization that is sympathetic to the cause of gay rights.

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