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An important indicator of future equality

Timothy Kincaid

May 25th, 2011

Anti-gay activists have many catch phrases and arguments, but ultimately they all boil down to one thing: they believe homosexuality to be morally wrong. And, until recently, America has agreed and voted accordingly.

Which makes the following graphic very very interesting:

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David in Houston
May 25th, 2011 | LINK

The other Gallup poll chart labeled “Do you think gay or lesbian relations between consenting adults should or should not be legal?” really pisses me off. Even though 64% said “I should be legal”. So basically 1/3 of the country actually thinks it’s their own personal business how two consenting adults live their lives. That is preposterously offensive. Especially when the term “consenting adults” is used.

Perhaps the next question in the poll should have been, “Do you think other people should be able to tell you how to live your life, and enforce those beliefs by passing laws directed against you?”

David in Houston
May 25th, 2011 | LINK

Sorry. That should have said, “It should be legal”. My kingdom for an Edit button ;-)

Norm!
May 25th, 2011 | LINK

I wonder how much of the poll was influenced merely by the word choice of the poll question. The note says that over the years the phrase changed from “homosexual behavior” to “homosexual relations” to “gay or lesbian relations”. Heck, even I would think twice about morally approving “homosexual behavior” versus “gay relations”.

Bernie
May 25th, 2011 | LINK

Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg, the great propagators of lies will probably start their next conversation with,”There are decades of research by the Social Sciences that say otherwise….”

But, then again, who truly cares what they say.

Bernie
May 25th, 2011 | LINK

PS. Why is there a “Team Bachmann/ money bomb” ad on the left of your page?

Theo
May 25th, 2011 | LINK

@David in Houston:

That question has pissed me off for a long time, but for a different reason. Gallup has asked that question since the 1970s. Back then, a majority of states criminalized and no one even thought about legal recognition of gay relationships. So even though the question was never a model of clarity, I think the large majority of respondents would understand that the question was referring to support for or opposition to sodomy laws. But today, there are no enforceable sodomy laws but gay marriage is a hot topic. How can Gallup continue to ask that question when it is guaranteed to get a useless mix of answers from respondents, some of whom will understand the question to ask about marriage and some of whom will view it as a question about gay marriage? That 64% figure is meaningless.

@Norm!
I love your name. Asking about homosexual behavior would absolutely impact the result. That is why, for instance, the anti-gay Center for Military Readiness was able to generate a poll showing much less support for DADT repeal than in other polls. They simply asked about “homosexual behavior in the barracks.” But of course, the pollster should select wording that is most accurate, i.e., not vague and not over- or under-inclusive. “Homosexual behavior” is pretty vague, but to many, it surely means gay sex. But anti-gay discrimination and anti-gay violence rarely occur as the result of someone observing a gay sex act. Moreover, some gays are celibate for various periods in their lives for various reasons and some gay sex acts are not performed by gays. So “gay relationships” or “homosexual relationships” would be the best choices IMO.

Blake
May 26th, 2011 | LINK

Are we finally beating the +/- spread on this one? We are so so so close.

Priya Lynn
May 26th, 2011 | LINK

I think hardly anyone ever really thought gayness was immoral, they just thought it was icky and saying it was immoral was an attempt to justify their feelings.

Timothy Kincaid
May 27th, 2011 | LINK

Bernie,

We don’t select the ads, they are generated based on the blog contents. If we write heatedly about Politician X for a few days, generally his ad shows up. As for Bachman, I’m not sure. We haven’t discussed her much lately.

Timothy Kincaid
May 27th, 2011 | LINK

Priya,

I’m sure that is true for many folks – especially those who don’t seem to worried about any other issues of morality. But for a great many religious people, the “morality” issue is the very biggest issue.

Yes, most straight folks probably think that gay sex is icky. But, then again, as I look around the world, I would think it “icky” to imagine the sex of most folks I see (life ain’t porn). And most of us just kinda block all that out of our minds.

But for religious folk, there is the huge “sin” thing. I’m not talking right now about the conservatives – there are a whole lot of issue for them.

But the liberal Christians really do worry about immorality. That is the issue behind the struggles in the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the United Methodist Church, etc. and even the UCC.

Many of these are theologically and politically fairly liberal – or at least moderate. Ideologically they want to be supportive of gay rights – it fits in well with their worldview. But when it comes to pastoring or marriage or even approval of gay couples, they have trouble reconciling it with their faith.

You have your morality code (and it’s a fine one), and they have theirs. And the very same Bible on which they have built their ethos, the one that compels them to “justice and mercy”, the one that helps them define themselves in terms of “loving your neighbor” and all the good stuff, also has little supportive to say about same-sex relationships.

Now many of them have struggled with the issue and worked out the greater meaning behind what on the surface reads like a prohibition. (It’s not that radical, it’s like all the other “rules”. Look for the reason for the rule, look at the culture to see what was going on, and see whether the “love” commandments support the rule or support a principle that the rule was trying to address).

But it matters VERY much to them whether same-sex sexuality is moral. If they still find it immoral, that matters: they may support civil equality and march in favor of gay marriage as a right but still believe that a person’s best choice would be to be celibate. And if they have a more modern moral conclusion, it matters because then they may think that a gay person is called to establish a monogamous committed relationship and they may well introduce you to every single gay person that they come across until you do.

(But regardless, they probably will still think the sex is icky)

Priya Lynn
May 27th, 2011 | LINK

I hear you Timothy, I just don’t believe you.

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