Despite all the hostile rhetoric, all the hate speech and all the claims that same-sex marriage will destroy not only “traditional” marriage but American society itself, a recent Pew Research Center poll shows that while more than half of Americans are still opposed to gay marriage, less than half are opposed to making it legal.
This is a significant moment in time and it represents a shift from last year. “The shift in opinion on same-sex marriage has been broad-based, occurring across many demographic, political and religious groups,” Pew announces.
The numbers? 42 percent of Americans favor same-sex marriage, while 48 percent oppose it. The numbers for 2009 were 37 percent in favor and 54 percent opposed.
Americans are also in favor of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; letting gays and lesbians serve openly in the military. According to Pew, “The public continues to be far more supportive of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military than of allowing legal same-sex marriages.” Sixty percent of Americans have no problem with allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military; only thirty percent oppose it. In 1994, those for gays serving openly in the military numbered only 52 percent.
This figure, Pew says, has remained stable for about five years, yet according to conservatives the wheels will come off if we do what the people want.
And isn’t the Tea Party all about rights and doing what people want and not having to listen to a stodgy old government? Apparently not when it’s not what the Tea Party wants to hear. But then the Tea Party doesn’t represent the American people; it never did.
Don’t do what we say, just do…oh, whatever. I won’t even try to unravel their un-reasons for opposing gays and lesbians because I don’t think they’ve ever been able to field any sort of cogent argument. They base right and wrong on religion, not on the Constitution, and that’s where the wheels really come off.
Let’s look at some particulars:
Support for gay marriage unsurprisingly varies according to age.
- Those born after the 1980s – 53 percent for, 39 percent opposed
- Those born from 1965 to 1980 – 48 percent for, 43 percent opposed
- Those born from 1946 to 1964 – 38 percent for, 52 percent opposed (I’m one of the 38 percent)
- Those born between 1928 and 1945 – 29 percent for, 59 percent opposed
And of course, Americans are divided along political lines, 53 percent of Democrats being for legalizing same-sex marriage and just 24 percent of Republicans, while Independents register in between, at 44 percent.
In light of such polling figures and their recent inability to mount an argument in court, it is difficult to see how conservatives can regain the momentum in this civil rights issue, or to keep up the pretense that they represent “real” Americans. A populist movement that is out of touch with what the populace wants doesn’t have much going for it, and it becomes exposed as the tool of a few rich, white conservatives.
But we knew that already, didn’t we?