America Loves Gay Marriage? Polls Say Yes, But Don’t Celebrate Just Yet…

Recent polls released by Gallup, CNN, the Public Religion Research Institute, the Washington Post and ABC News all say a majority of Americans now support full marriage equality—a dramatic increase over the last year. But that’s not any reason to bust out the champagne and white tuxes. Not at all.

For one, just because people responded favorably on a poll, doesn’t mean they’ll come out in droves to vote for marriage equality on election day or pressure their legislators into voting for a marriage equality bill either (it’s called The Bradley Effect). Plus, the 18 to 30-year-olds often listed as supporting marriage equality the most also tend to vote the least, especially compared to their less liberal elders. Lastly, rural areas continue to be largely conservative and able to tip the polls against marriage equality ballot measures even though bigger cities may vote in favor of them.

Luckily, legislative majorities in states like California, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have passed marriage equality bills and even over-ridden governor’s vetoes in the past. Iowa also approved same-sex marriage through the state supreme court. It’s obvious that the legislature and courts remain our best way to make marriage equality a reality.

Nonethless, Bob Witeck CEO of his own queer-friendly consulting firm says “[Even though] the conventional polling wisdom is that this opinion data is directional but not valid in recognizing how voters will act when a specific question arises, the attitude measures are meaningful to many influentials [such as] helping raise money, enlist allies and endorsements in a campaign… These confirmatory polls matter too because there are so many revealing the “trend.” The march towards marriage and relationship approval is inexorably in only ONE direction and it is painstaking and real, and unstoppable—that helps sway minds and fence-sitters absolutely.”

Thus, marriage equality groups should still parlay these poll results into advertisements that use a bandwagon approach (ie. “A majority of American support marriage equality, but we still need your help!”). No one wants to part of an uncool, un-hip dinosaur herd.

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  • David Ehrenstein

    I really can’t comprehend why you don’t take pleasure in good news.

  • Cam

    Support for Marriage equality was going up by about 1% a year.

    Then when the gays got loud, and protested, everything that all the establishment gay groups said NOT to do because we would “Upset people”….suddenly the support has jumped up by about 15% nationally.

    Hmm, funny how that worked out.

  • jason

    The liberals are scared of us because they know that we can cause a return to conservative social mores if we get angry. As we did in the 1800’s, it is quite conceivable that we can form a coalition with Christians and enact laws that oppress women as we did back then.

    We have the ability to force women to wear more modest clothing, for instance. Straight men are terrified of this possibility because their own sexual sense of entitlement is based on convincing women to wear less, not more. They’ve succeeded in doing this for the last 40 years but now realize that their sense of entitlement is under threat should we form that gay-Christian coalition.

    This is why they’re coming around to our viewpoint on gay marriage. Women fear us because they know that we can see through them and their hypocrisy. Straight-identifying men fear us because they know that we have the ability to take away their sense of sexual entitlement over women.

  • IAbuseGays

    @jason: <Nuts.

  • robert in NYC

    New York is set to lose marriage equality for the second time. Apparently, there aren’t enough votes to make it happen. 4 conservadems won’t and 2 republicans who are apparently waivering won’t. Another victory for NOM and other hate groups.

  • Queer Supremacist

    @jason: That makes no sense. A gay/Christian coalition is like a Jewish/Nazi coalition or a black/KKK coalition. I would just as soon collaborate with a Muslim terrorist (same difference).


    Jason please take your meds.

  • Hyhybt

    Do these recent polls break it down by state?

  • tjr101

    Jason’s post has to be the dumbest since Queerty’s reemergence.

  • DJ

    It’s only a matter of time before all of the dinosaurs die off, and gays can be free to get married…

  • Lonnie

    So, once again, the only people stopping equal rights are the 436 bigots occupying the White House and Congress. Fuck both Democrats and Republicans. Inequality under a Democrat is no better than inequality under a Republican.

  • Lonnie

    We will never win equality so long as these are the folks in charge of “our” organizations and so long as queers rely on “faith” instead of experience and results to determine their support.


    EQCA Boss Palencia:
    $0 for No on Prop 8

    The elitist Democratic gay lobbying organization Equality California, without holding a single community forum, chose their new leader this week and the name was unfamiliar to myself and many San Franciscans. The executive director is now a Southern California Latino gay man from the nonprofit world named Roland Palencia.

    He gave his first interview as EQCA ED to LA-based longtime lesbian journalism Karen Ocamb, whose blog LGBT POV has unfortunately served as an uncritical platform for the group. Their chat did not broach the subjects of regular town halls where the community sets the evening’s agenda, board members presenting themselves at free events in their local areas or any other challenge to the status quo.

    Palencia told Karen he blamed the victims of EQCA’s abysmal engagement for the 2008 loss:

    I also think that we, the community as a whole, could have been a lot more involved, could have done a lot more things. It was an issue that was not getting us much traction for the community. It’s hard to believe that now – but that was the reality.

    The No on 8 lacking traction in the community? Not a sign of intelligence from Palencia, if that is what he really believes. The remarks were thankfully duly scrutinized by LA Weekly’s veteran gay reporter Patrick Range McDonald:

    Palenci’s comments about the disastrous “No on 8” campaign, which was widely reported to be disorganized and dysfunctional, echo nearly identical excuses often mentioned by “No on 8” leaders, which angered many people in the gay community.

    There have been numerous reports about the “No on 8” leaders not reaching out to college students, people of color, and grassroots activists, for leaving gay rights activists to fend for themselves in places like the Central Valley, and for running an isolated campaign without much outreach to the larger gay community and their straight allies.

    Neither Karen nor Patrick wrote about the matter of Palencia’s donations to the No on 8 campaign, but Seth Hemmelgarn of the Bay Area Reporter broached the subject:

    Palencia said his involvement in the No on 8 campaign included writing checks and phone banking. He didn’t remember how much he’d contributed.

    Surprisingly, Seth didn’t report how much Palencia gave to the campaign, so I used two search engines to learn the amount.

    According to the Secretary of State and SF Chronicle data, the new leader of EQCA contributed $0 to the No on 8 effort. Why would he tell the BAR he wrote checks when the public record doesn’t back up his claim? If there is a record of Palencia donating to No on 8, lemme know the URL for it.

    At the state level, Palencia’s totaling giving comes to $4,150 to the CA Friends Latino PAC, the G/L Latino/a HONOR PAC, Villaraigosa for Mayor, Friends of Fabian Nunez, Friends of Gil Cedillo, Gatto for Assembly, Portillo for Assembly, ACT BLUE, Torie Osborne for Assembly, and no donations to EQCA.

    The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission campaign search engine shows he’s doled out $1,250 to just three local candidates: Villaraigosa, Eduardo Reyes and Conrado Terrazas

    Federal Election Commission records reveal a single contribution from Palencia. In late November 2008 he gave $400 to the Nevada State Democratic Party.

    The only recognizable gay name among the recipients I recognize is Democratic Gay Inc hack Osborne, and I don’t blame the guy for directing the bulk of his donations over the years to Latinos. But I’d like to know why he’s not given more to gay pols, or anything to EQCA, Victory Fund or the Human Rights Campaign.

    He’s clearly a GWM, gay with money, so why no giving to those entities?

  • robert in NYC

    Lonnie, in three of the five states which have marriage equality, it happened when democrats were in control of the legislatures. In Iowa and Maine, it was legislated from the bench by progressive liberal judges. In the case of Maine, it was overturned by republican mob rule controlled religious bigots by public referendum. Now which party are you recommending us to vote for? I’m a Green but I know my party, the only one endorsing marriage equality as official policy, wouldn’t win a state or national election because the American public is too dumb to figure out its a far better alternative.

    At least the majority in the Democratic party support it,whereas very few in the GOP do. I can’t even name one currently sitting republican who supports it can you?

  • robert in NYC

    Another thing Lonnie, some selfish, naive gay voters decided to punish the Democrats in 2010 and voted republican or stayed home. They have themselves to blame for the end result, a republican controlled house with the right wing Tea Party scum calling the shots and controlling their party that has become more radical and extreme since they took back the house.

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