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.
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.
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.
That’s the controversial question author Nathaniel Frank takes up in his latest article on The Huffington Post:
When Cynthia Nixon, who became famous for her role on Sex and the City, recently told The New York Times that being a lesbian was, for her, “a choice,” her words lit up the LGBT listservs, angering many who believe that Nixon is giving comfort to the enemy. Those who believe sexual orientation is a choice are far more likely to oppose our equality, while folks who think we are “born that way” are more likely to support us. If we can’t help it, goes the thinking, we shouldn’t be punished for it; and the corollary to that: if you can’t choose to be gay, there’s no need to stigmatize it as a way to discourage people from making the wrong choice.
To be sure, Frank’s point is deeper than this, but I can’t help but ask, at least in regards to ethics: why does any of this really matter? Why is the prospect of homosexuality being innate somehow an argument in its favor? Isn’t this an example of the naturalistic fallacy? On the flip side, why is the idea that homosexuality is a choice somehow imagined as an argument against it? What’s wrong with, if it’s possible, choosing to be gay? Where’s the harm?
Laura Fotusky wrote in her resignation letter that she would step down as town clerk on July 21, three days before New York becomes the sixth state to allow same-sex marriage. Her reasoning was based solely on religious belief.
Fotusky was not immediately available for comment, but in her letter, dated July 11, she said she believes the Bible takes precedence over man-made laws.
"The Bible clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and cultures. Since I love and follow Him, I cannot put my signature on something that is against God. … I would be compromising my moral conscience if I participated in the licensing procedure."
The extent to which the government should recognize religious objections to same-sex marriage has been a topic of heated debate. While most state-level same-sex marriage legislation exempts private religious groups from performing marriages, it also requires government employees to follow the law (this is the case in New York). As explained by Gov. Andrew Cuomo:
Cuomo … told reporters that he agreed with Fotusky’s decision to resign because government workers have a responsibility to enforce the law.
"When you enforce the laws of the state, you don’t get to pick and choose the laws," Cuomo said.
Fotusky is the first clerk in New York to resign over objections to same-sex marriage (a town clerk in Syracuse has also cited religious objections, but said she will follow the law). I expect more government employees wil voice their objections, but given the poor state of the economy, I think most people will swallow their morals and continue doing their job.