The Pew Research Center published the results of a new poll this week
that suggests that people are settling down about same-sex marriage, finally.
I say "settling down" because polls indicate that the long-term trend has been toward acceptance of marriage equality, as revealed by Pew polls over the years.
In 1996, 27% favored legalizing same-sex marriage. Support grew to 35% in 2001 and 38% in 2003. Then Goodridge dragged social conservatives out of the closet, and the drumbeat of of lies about the consequences of same-sex marriage -- straight marriage will have no meaning or value, human-animal marriages will proliferate, polygamy will run rampant, pedophiles will be free to marry six-year-olds, the war on terror will collapse, God will smite East Sweet Jesus, Arkansas, and so on -- took hold. As a result, opposition to same-sex marriage increased -- to 63% in 2004 -- while support for same-sex marriage decreased -- to 29% in 2004.
After peaking during the 2004 election, opposition to allowing gays and lesbians to marry has faded. Currently, the number of people who favor same-sex marriage is back to where it was before the lie machine went into action -- 39% favor legalizing same-sex marriage, while 51% oppose it.
The most interesting poll result, in my view, are the percentages of those who "strongly oppose" same-sex marriage.
The reason that the poll is interesting is that the "strongly oppose" crowd are the noisemakers, the self-proclaimed mavens of morality who stand in the door shouting "Never, never, never ..."
, like the segregationists of old who were the spiritual predecessors of many who most strongly oppose marriage equality.
The Pew poll shows that opposition to same-sex marriage is now, as it has been in the past, largely an obsession of evangelical Protestants -- 56% of evangelical Protestants are "strongly opposed" to same-sex marriage, a number that is identical to the number of evangelical Protestants "strongly opposed" in 2003.
But other Christians do not share their views now, just as other Christians did not share their views in the past. Only 18% of mainline Protestants and 19% of Catholics "strongly oppose" same-sex marriage, numbers that are, again, identical to the 2003 percentages.
And the demographics seem to be settling down, too, as people settle in to the idea of same-sex marriage. In 2004, almost twice as many people in the 65+ age group "strongly opposed" same-sex marriage as did people in the 18-29 age group -- 58% to 32%. Today, the demographics are much more evenly distributed:
Percentage who "strongly oppose", by age group:
18-29 - 25% "strongly oppose"
30-49 - 26% "strongly oppose"
50-64 - 30% "strongly oppose"
65+ - 33% "strongly oppose"
And perhaps the most significant result is that the number of Republicans who "strongly oppose" same-sex marriage has dropped significantly since 2004 -- from 59% to 41%. As more and more Republicans come to their senses on the issue, President Bush and other Republican leaders might find that "faggot, faggot" isn't a good long-term strategy for winning elections.
I've been in Wisconsin during the last week
, working on the house I'm building , and I've been listening in to Wisconsinites. The newspapers are on to the game in Wisconsin, and are beginning to editorialize with disfavor about the Republican strategy of using "faggot, faggot" as an election tactic to beat Governor Jim Doyle.
The Republicans might have a surprise coming in November.