Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for June, 2012

A Friday cute moment

Timothy Kincaid

June 8th, 2012

The Telegraph ran a really stupid article about some completely bogus poll (biased language – push questions – meaningless sample) paid for by Catholic Voices (why are they such liars? Really, do they honestly think that God is hunky-dory with deception in his name?) And the author didn’t question a single claim. I could go on for pages about just how invalid this is, but it’s Friday so I’ll just let it go for this thread (though I may take it up elsewhere). but you can see it here.)

However, they did use this photograph. And, considering that the big news yesterday was about Denmark voting for marriage, without reading the article I responded to the pic. And my immediate thoughts were, “How cute.. and, yep, they’re Danes.”

Photo: ALAMY

Bipartisan Pollsters Find Rapid Increase In Support for Marriage Equality

Jim Burroway

July 29th, 2011

Over the past year or so, we have had several polls showing increased support for marriage equality. While we know the trend has been in our favor for quite some time, it’s been hard to take some of these polls seriously. Many of us remember all too well the polls showing Prop 8 going down in defeat, only to wake up on the day following election day to see the equal rights of millions of Californians stripped from them.

Today, Freedom to Marry had announced that two leading pollsters, one Republican and the other Democrat, have reviewed the polling data over the past fifteen years and have seen a very notable shift in support over the past two years specifically. According to their study (PDF: 136KB/4 pages), that increased support in the past two years has been across the board, including among older Americans and Republicans.

This isn’t a new poll, but rather an analysis of other polls which have already been published, including Gallup, Quinnipiac University, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), CNN/Opinion Research Corp (CNN/ORC), ABC News/Washington Post, and Pew Research Center.

This study confirms what Rob Tisinai noticed a few weeks ago by looking at the ABC/WaPo poll alone. Rob noticed that “For the most part, older people are more supportive of marriage equality in 2011 than younger people were in 2005.” And that increase in support among older Americans cannot be explained by older people dying off alone. His analysis is worth revisiting here. The authors of the Freedom To Marry study agree:

Ultimately, things are changing very quickly because support levels are up in all age and party categories. This allows one to conclude that many adults are rethinking their position, and it is taking place at all age levels and among all partisans, including older Americans and Republicans. Attitudes are changing at a slower pace among older adults and conservatives, but they’re changing.

More encouragingly, they notice that “the intensity of opinion is changing at a rapid pace. As of today, supporters of marriage for gay couples feel as strongly about the issue as opponents do, something that was not the case in the recent past.”

DOMA As A Wedge Issue, Ctd

Jim Burroway

March 18th, 2011


A newly released Washington Post-ABC News poll confirms what other recent polls have shown, that a majority of Americans support marriage equality. That majority remains a slim one when one considers the 3.5 percent margin of error. But five years ago,  only 36 percent supported same-sex marriage; today, 53 percent do. That’s a 47 percent increase in a very short amount of time. WaPo notes some significant trends:

In the new Post-ABC poll, the shift has been driven by several political and demographic groups whose support for such unions jumped sharply. Men, who previously were less supportive of same-sex marriage than women, now back it at the same rate. Support among college-educated whites, political independents and people who do not consider themselves religious also rose substantially.

ABC News breaks it down further:

While younger adults and liberals remain at the forefront of support for gay marriage, the new results underscore its expansion. In an ABC/Post poll five and a half years ago, for example, under-30s were the sole age group to give majority support to gay marriage, at 57 percent. Today it’s 68 percent in that group – but also 65 percent among people in their 30s, up a remarkable 23 points from the 2005 level; and 52 percent among those in their 40s, up 17 points.

…Support is up by a striking 23 points among white Catholics, often a swing group and one that’s been ready, in many cases, to disregard church positions on political or social issues. But they have company: Fifty-seven percent of non-evangelical white Protestants now also support gay marriage, up 16 points from its level five years ago. Evangelicals, as noted, remain very broadly opposed. But even in their ranks, support for gay marriage is up by a double-digit margin.

You can see the poll itself here (PDF: 85KB/3 pages). It should be noted that the margin of error for these smaller sample groups would likely be significantly greater than the poll’s overall ±3.5%. The released information does not provide margins of errors for the smaller groups, so we don’t know whether those majorities are significant in themselves, but the trend at least probably is. Especially, this trend:

Support has grown by 17 points among Democrats, but also by 13 points among independents, to a clear majority, 58 percent, in the crucial political center. And it’s 63 percent among moderates, up 21 points.

Opposing marriage equality is a losing political proposition for everyone except the conservative GOP base. Not too long ago, supporting marriage quality was a losing proposition for everyone except the liberal Democratic base.

That’s what made it the definitive wedge issue — it drove a wedge between the crucial moderates and independents from Democratic candidates. Which left the Democratic candidates sputtering that marriage bans were cynical distractions from more important issues facing the country — jobs, the economy, the global war against terrorism, whatever. Those weak arguments are why we got steamrollered in the elections.

Now, we have a president who will defend DOMA only under heightened scrutiny, and Democratic legislators introducing legislation to repeal DOMA in both houses of Congress. And in response, it’s conservative Republicans’ turn to complain that efforts to dismantle DOMA are a cynical distraction. My how times have changed.

Update: Indiana Republicans have seen the writing on the wall, and are abandoning efforts to amend the state constitution to ban marriage equality.

Slim Majority of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

September 20th, 2010

A new AP-GfK poll (PDF: 176KB/24 pages) shows that perhaps a very slim majority of Americans (52%-46%) believe that “the Federal Government (should) give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex.” I score that as being a potentially slim majority because the poll’s margin of error is +/-4.5%. We’ve seen similar polls before, only to see those slim majorities vanish at the voting booths, so take this finding for what it’s worth.

Further, Americans agree (58%-38%) that “couples of the same sex (should) be entitled to the same government benefits as married couples of the opposite sex.”

Other interesting findings: A majority (56%-41%) agree that “Judges should interpret laws broadly, taking into account the broader interests of the nation,” instead of a more narrow interpretation of the law. Also, a significant majority (62%-35%) agree that “The rights of everyone should be protected, even when that means saying no to something the majority of people want to happen.” Both of these have important implications for the Prop 8 ruling in California.

And one last finding worth noting: Only 41% of Americans are confident in “Independent or citizen media, such as online blogs.” Of the 18 institutions Americans were asked to rank spanning governemnt, media, the military, religion and banks (yes, banks!), bloggers came in dead last.

Update: Timothy already covered this poll last Friday, drawing a similarly skeptical conclusion as I did on the first question. Unfortunately, this was a long weekend for me and I forgot he already covered it. No wonder Americans look askance at bloggers.

The Trend Toward Acceptance

Jim Burroway

August 12th, 2010

Prompted by yesterday’s CNN Poll, Nate Silver looked at public polls since 1988, and believes we are experiencing an accelerated trend toward broad acceptance of same-sex marriage:

One caveat is that LOESS regression tends to be fairly sensitive on the endpoints, and so yesterday’s CNN survey, which showed the pro-gay marriage position leading 50.5-48.5, makes a fair amount of difference. But even if we ignored that survey, support for gay marriage would instead be in the range of 45-46 percent (and opposition between 51-52 percent): that would reflect acceleration in the rate of support for gay marriage, about a 4-point gain over the past 16 months, faster than the long-term rate of increase, which has been between 1 and 1.5 points per year.

Americans Shift Sharply in Favor of Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

April 28th, 2009

A poll release by CBS/New York Times shows a recent very sharp shift in support for marriage equality. For the first time, support for marriage went above 40% and opposition to all forms of recognition dropped below 30%. And, for the first time, “marriage” is the most preferred of choices offered.

42 – marriage
25 – civil unions but not marriage
28 – no recognition for couples
5 – uncertain

Although polling has shown a steady increase of about 10% in support for marriage since the devisive 2004 Presidential elections in which President Bush made it a campaign issue, this latest poll suggest that there has been about a 9% jump in support in the past six weeks.

In the period between the two polls:

  • The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously determined that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage to same-sex couples.
  • The legislature of Vermont voted for marriage equality and overrode the governor’s veto.
  • The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted for marriage equality.
  • The District of Columbia unanimously voted to recognize out-of-district marriages.
  • The legislature of Connecticut codified marriage.
  • The Governor of New York initiated a drive to push marriage equality through the legislature. He was supported by the Mayor of New York City.
  • The legislature of Washington upgraded Domestic Partnerships to include All-But-The-Name.
  • The Maryland Senate voted to increase benefits offered to Domestic Partners.
  • The legislature of Colorado passed a Designated Beneficiaries act.
  • The Delaware Senate rejected a ban on same-sex marriage amendment.
  • The West Virginia House of Delegated rejected a ban on same-sex marriage amendment.
  • The legislature of Arkansas rejected a bill that would have hindered cities and municipalities from setting up domestic parter registries.
  • The Governor of Utah publicly pondered whether the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage had any leeway to allow other forms of recognition.
  • The National Organization for Marriage release a fear-based anti-marriage ad that backfired and resulted in parody.
  • A Miss USA contestant spoke against same-sex marriage and was reviled.

Any one of these might be expected to result in negative reaction. But if this week’s poll is accurate, there has not been an uptick in voter outrage; rather, quite the opposite has occured.

Either this poll is an anomoly, or it provides support for those who claim that America is reaching a tipping point on the issue of marriage equality.