Posts tagged gay

Why people oppose, support marriage equality

Gallup yesterday released the findings of its latest survey on marriage equality. The good news is that a majority of Americans (53 percent) support marriage equality. But more interesting (at least to me!) than the overall oppose or support percentages were the survey’s findings regarding why people oppose or support marriage equality:

In other words: most people who oppose marriage equality do so for religious reasons, while people who support marriage equality do so based on secular reasons, such as equality and fairness. Perhaps this doesn’t come as a surprise, but simply a confirmation of what we all assumed was the case. Yet I would argue that it is important to know exactly why people oppose and support certain policies, because such knowledge allows those involved in the fight to hone their arguments and make them more likely to be accepted by others.

Hat tip to the Friendly Atheist.

Americans hold negative views on morality

Keeping on the topic of surveys gauging American views on morality, a new Gallup poll shows that 43 percent of Americans believe moral values in the United States are in poor shape, and a whopping 73 percent believe they are getting worse.

On what do respondents blame this decline? Here you go:

You can read more on the survey here.

American views on moral issues

Gallup yesterday released the findings of its recent survey that gauged the views of Americans on the moral acceptability of 18 hot-button issues relating to social behaviors and policies. Here are the final results:

You can read more on the survey here.

Traditional marriage: not so traditional

Anyone who pays attention to politics has heard conservatives and religious believers argue that marriage is — and always has been — a relationship between one man and one woman, and thus, that same-sex marriage should be illegal.

Here’s the problem: marriage has not always been a relationship between one man and one woman.

Time to break out your Bible … Abraham had two wives, Sarah and her handmaiden Hagar. King Solomon had 700 wives, plus 300 concubines and slaves. Jacob, the patriarch who gives Israel its name, had two wives and two concubines. In a humanist vein, Exodus 21:10 warns that when men take additional wives, they must still provide for their previous one. (Exodus 21:16 adds that if a man seduces a virgin and has sex with her, he has to marry her, too.)

But that’s not all. In biblical society, when you conquered another city, tribe, or nation, the victorious men would “win” their defeated foes’ wives as part of the spoils. It also commanded levirate marriage, the system wherein, if a man died, his younger brother would have to marry his widow and produce heirs with her who would be considered the older brother’s descendants. Now that’s traditional marriage!

And that’s just the Bible. Click here to keep reading the long, sordid history of “traditional marriage.”

Most Americans OK with gay relations

For the third year in a row, polling shows that a narrow majority of Americans consider gay and lesbian relations morally acceptable. The data comes from Gallup, which calls the result the “new normal” in public opinion on the issue.

As you can see on the following two charts, American attitudes on the morality of gay and lesbian relationships have essentially flipped between 2001 and 2012, and track well with American approval of same-sex marriage.

Update on the campaign against Starbucks

A couple days ago I posted that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which advocates for restricting the legal definition of marriage to one man and one woman, had announced an international protest of Starbucks over the company’s support of marriage equality.

How is that protest going? Not so good, according to ThinkProgress:

The National Organization for Marriage’s decision to boycott Starbucks for the company’s support of the freedom to marry has turned out to be a dismal failure. In the five days since NOM launched its “Dump Starbucks” petition, it has only gotten 19,000 signatures, compared to the nearly 250,000 individuals who have signed SumOfUs’s retaliatory “Thank You, Starbucks” card. In fact, SumOfUs has gotten over 8,000 new signers since 8:30 this morning.

Not only is NOM’s petition failing when it comes to numbers, it’s also failing when it comes to authenticity. As Jeremy Hooper has tracked, Dump Starbucks counts any information that is submitted, but that hasn’t stopped NOM from boasting about its campaign repeatedly all weekend. Worse yet, it seems that the site can’t even provide an accurate count of who is signing — either that or the organization is intentionally manipulating the numbers to make the petition look more successful that it is, which of course it isn’t anyway.

Marriage equality opponents announce campaign against Starbucks

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which advocates for restricting the legal definition of marriage to one man and one woman, has announced an international protest of Starbucks over the company’s support of marriage equality.

NOM’s campaign is a response to Starbucks’s announcement in January that it would join a growing list of corporations to endorse marriage equality in Washington. The state House and Senate are expected to approve, and Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign, legislation that legalizes same-sex sometime this year.

Said NOM President Brian Brown about the protest:

"Unlike our opponents, we do not target whole companies for the actions of an individual business executive in that company. … But Starbucks has taken a corporate position in support of redefining marriage for all of society. We will not tolerate an international company attempting to force its misguided values on citizens. The majority of Americans and virtually every consumer in some countries in which Starbucks operates believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. They will not be pleased to learn that their money is being used to advance gay marriage in society."

Yet while Brown is correct that some countries almost fully oppose even basic rights for gay persons, let alone marriage rights, he is either ignorant of or purposely misleading the public on polling data in the U.S. The latest surveys show that a slight majority of Americans believe same-sex marriage ought to be legal.

That said, polling data is irrelevant to discussions on rights. Every single straight American could believe gay persons should be deprived of certain rights, and they would still be wrong. Rights aren’t popularity contests. In the eyes of the government, rights should be provided to everyone, regardless of their sex, race, color, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation.

Moral decline or moral shift?

You’ve probably heard conservative and religious leaders — including most of the Republican president candidates — lament the recent “moral decline” of the United States.

Yet is America truly in moral decline, or is the country just shifting away from traditional, religious morality? That’s the question taken up in a new article in the Economist, which finds little evidence to support the former position.

In summary:

[The aforementioned issues lead] to a debate over what “moral” really means. If “immoral” means “causing avoidable harm to other people” then gay marriage, pornography, sex, reality TV, soft-drug use and euthanasia are hardly immoral, even if distasteful to some.  

But as we grind through the Republican primary process, it seems like the debate over morality in America has less to do with moral outcomes and more to do with a vision of how society should look based on idealistic remembrances of how things were. So people like Mr Munro and the Republican candidates believe America is in a moral slump. The odd thing is, people on the left might actually agree, though for very different reasons. They are upset by the perceived greed of the 1%, and the broad acceptance of torture and war as foreign-policy tools. In the end, the debate over morality more closely resembles two distinct monologues.

What’s next for Proposition 8?

Yesterday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California’s ban on same-sex marriage, under the law Proposition 8, was unconstitutional. Proponents of the measure have vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court (though they first need to request the court that issued the decision to reconsider its ruling). But will the Supreme Court accept the case?

On Talking Points Memo, a couple legal experts speculate that it will not:

Several California law professors speculated to Talking Points Memo that this “narrow” focus of the ruling could mean that the Supreme Court will decline to hear the case, since the ruling is so limited to California.

Professor Jane Schacter at Stanford Law School told TPM that “the big question” is whether or not the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case, and though at this point it’s “guesswork,” the narrowness of the opinion makes it less likely that they will. “It’s much more grounded in the specifics of the California ruling,” she said. For one thing, Schacter said, the Ninth Circuit’s opinion emphasizes that the right of same-sex couples to marry had been first granted, then eliminated. For another, unlike most other states, California already essentially granted all of the rights of marriage to same-sex couples, just under a different name than “marriage.” This means that Prop 8 was simply about the designation of same-sex unions as “marriages.”

"Those two things are somewhat peculiar to California," Schacter said, meaning that the opinion doesn’t necessarily provide the basis for a nationally recognized right for same-sex couples to marry. "Because of that, the Supreme Court may feel the stakes are limited, and it’s not as necessary for them to get involved," she said.

Even if the Supreme Court does accept the case, how might it rule? On The Huffington Post, Adam Winkler weighs in:

Gay rights lawyers have mixed feelings about an appeal to the Supreme Court. Some were opposed to the Proposition 8 lawsuit from the beginning, fearing what the conservative-leaning Roberts Court might do. In so many cases dealing with high-profile, controversial issues — from affirmative action to the Second Amendment — the Court’s conservative wing has emerged triumphant. If the Court decides against marriage equality in the Proposition 8 case, it will set a precedent that may take decades to undo. Given the evidence of public views moving quickly in the direction of acceptance of LGBT rights, many gay rights activists would prefer to wait a few more years before bringing a marriage equality case to the Supreme Court.

With four Justices expected to vote against gay marriage (Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, Alito) and four others expected to vote in favor (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan), how the Court rules is expected to turn on the vote of Anthony Kennedy, the usual swing vote. And that, perhaps surprisingly, buoys the hopes of many in the gay rights community.

You can read more from the Los Angeles Times here.