Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The GOP is wrong about marriage - and it's going to cost them!

Contributed by Danny S. on 01/10/2011

According to The Nashua Telegraph and numerous other sources, some of the New Hampshire Republicans intend to repeal the law that grants same-sex couples equal marriage rights in New Hampshire.[1]  Separately, in the Midwest, the Minnesota GOP also intends to introduce an amendment that would ban same-sex marriage under Minnesota’s Constitution, according to a StarTribune article that quoted Sen. Warren Limmer, a Republican from Maple Grove.[2]  Indeed, all throughout the United States, many Republican leaders and officials appear to be making the prevention of same-sex marriage and other rights for LGBT people a key issue and a crucial part of the Republican Party platform before 2012.[3]  Meanwhile, Sarah Palin appears to have taken a softer stance on her once-stated opposition to rights for LGBT people.[4]  Additionally, political leaders in other states, such as Rhode Island and New York, are moving forward with efforts to recognize same-sex marriage.[5]

Given the overwhelming support among younger voters for the legalization of same-sex marriage, a legitimate question appears to be whether the GOP’s renewed focus on anti-gay legislation and amendments may actually harm the GOP.[6]

Indeed, it seems that the GOP may soon be at odds with public opinion on this issue.  The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has recently stated that the level of public support for same-sex marriage has continued to rise in the United States.[7]  Before that, in an article published by The New York Times, a CNN poll was described at length, and that CNN poll showed that a majority of all Americans supported the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.[8]  If you would like to take a look at that full CNN poll, please see the full CNN poll results in this PDF Report: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/11/rel11a.pdf  

Additionally, an Associated Press poll released in September of 2010 also showed that a majority of Americans now favor same-sex marriage.[9]

Moreover, that same article published by The New York Times described the research of the authors, research which now shows that a majority of people in 17 states favors same-sex marriage.[10]  The authors say that the number of people who support same-sex marriage is higher if the CNN poll numbers are to be trusted.[11]

The GOP’s electoral chances in the future may hinge on turning out enough “base” GOP voters to win key swing states, while not alienating the independents and moderates who usually decide elections.

The problem for the GOP is that independents and moderates are becoming increasingly supportive of equal civil rights for LGBT Americans.[12]  Indeed political independents seem to side much more with rank-and-file Democrats on marriage equality than with rank-and-file Republicans, according to a CNN PoliticalTicker post.[13]  Additionally, moderates are increasingly supportive of same-sex marriage, according to an article published by ABCNEWS on Americans’ “changing views on gay marriage” and other topics.[14]

Moreover, the second problem for the GOP, with its political strategy of denying civil rights to LGBT Americans, is the number of younger and middle-age voters who support same-sex marriage and reject the approach of civil inequality for Americans.[15]  A CNN post stated that almost 60% of Americans under the age of 50 believe “gay rights are protected under the Constitution.”[16]  According to the full CNN poll report, which can be found at http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/11/rel11a.pdf, 61% of Americans under the age of 50 believe that “gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid.”  Meanwhile, according to that same poll, only 41% of those Americans “50 and older” believe that gays and lesbians should have a right to marry under the Constitution.

In 2012, we will see whether the GOP’s anti-gay efforts can produce electoral success.  Additionally, we will watch the state ballot amendment fights to determine whether the champions of intolerance can create a political climate that allows for the passage of additional anti-gay marriage amendments.  In 2012, and particularly later in the decade, it seems increasingly unlikely that the GOP’s focus on preventing same-sex marriage will work for it.

The polls mentioned here are only a few in a long line of polls that have shown a notable increase in public support for the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.[17]

Finally, with growing public acceptance of same-sex marriage and further demographic changes, it seems increasingly unlikely that the social conservatives who oppose same-sex marriage will win fights at the state level to deny same-sex couples the rights everyone else has.

[1] http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/904097-196/same-sex-marriage-threatened.html; http://www.dallasvoice.com/nh-lawmakers-seek-repeal-gay-marriage-1058401.html;  http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/231898/outside-groups-gird-for-gay-marriage-fight; http://blogout.justout.com/?p=25745.
[2] http://www.startribune.com/politics/106711753.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUvDEhiaE3miUsZ;  http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/112753479.html?page=2&c=y
[3] http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20110105/NEWS10/101050363/-1/ENT05/Economy-first-then-social-issues-House-GOP-leaders-say; http://iowaindependent.com/50147/republicans-continue-impeachment-push-over-branstad-opposition; http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/904097-196/same-sex-marriage-threatened.html.  
[4] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/05/AR2011010501697.html; http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40918209/ns/politics-more_politics/; http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/01/sarah-palin-re-tweets-in-support-of-gays.html;   http://www.hollywoodlife.com/2011/01/04/sarah-palin-pro-gay-tweet-dont-ask-dont-tell-tammy-bruce-willow-palin-president-obama/; http://www.postchronicle.com/news/original/article_212341602.shtml.
[5] http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2011/01/06/ri_lawmaker_to_reintroduce_gay_marriage_bill/; http://blog.syracuse.com/opinion/2011/01/on_the_agenda_marriage_equalit.html; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/nyregion/06cuomo.html?partner=rss&emc=rss.
[6] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/weekinreview/22gay.html; http://pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Support-For-Same-Sex-Marriage-Edges-Upward.aspx; http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/11/americans-split-evenly-on-gay-marriage/;
[7] http://pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Homosexuality/Support-For-Same-Sex-Marriage-Edges-Upward.aspx.
[8] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/weekinreview/22gay.html.
[9] http://newmexicoindependent.com/63604/majority-support-for-gay-marriage-holding-steady; http://opinion.latimes.com/opinionla/2010/09/majority-support-for-gay-marriage-appears-to-stick.html.
[10] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/weekinreview/22gay.html.
[11] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/weekinreview/22gay.html.
[12] http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/11/americans-split-evenly-on-gay-marriage/
[13] http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/11/americans-split-evenly-on-gay-marriage/
[14] http://abcnews.go.com/PollingUnit/Obama100days/story?id=7459488&page=1
[15] http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/11/americans-split-evenly-on-gay-marriage/
[16] http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/11/americans-split-evenly-on-gay-marriage/
[17] http://abcnews.go.com/PollingUnit/Obama100days/story?id=7459488&page=1

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