As Kansas voters prepare to decide tomorrow “whether to become the 18th state to add a ban to the state constitution, a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 68 percent of respondents did not think “same-sex ‘marriages’ should be recognized by the law as valid and come with the same rights as traditional marriages.” Only 28 percent favored same-sex marriages while 4 percent had no opinion.
This represents an increase from 55 percent opposing same-sex marriage one year ago. This poll also showed an increase in support of a constitutional amendment defining marriage, up to 57 percent from 48 percent a year ago. According to this poll, 37 percent remain opposed to such an amendment.
I have to say that I’m a little shocked by these numbers and note this poll’s relatively small sample size (fewer than 500 adults). (To those knowledgeable of polling methodology, do pollsters often use samples this small when surveying Americans’ opinions on issues?) If other polls show a similar growth in the opposition to state recognition of gay marriage, that will only prove the point that this blog has made in the past — advocates of such change must adopt new strategies if they wish to win popular support.
In The Corner on National Review Online, Stanley Kurtz writes:
those who think that gay marriage is inevitable had better think again. Opposition to gay marriage is growing, and so is support for a Federal Marriage Amendment. The next big battleperhaps in the aftermath of a California court decision legalizing same-sex marriagecould push the numbers even higher. And dont forget that gay marriage polling frequently undercounts the level of opposition actually revealed at the polling place.
I don’t usually agree with Stanley Kurtz on gay marriage, but acknowledge that he may be right in this case. I believe that this increase in opposition to gay marriage (even if not as pronounced as the Gallup poll indicates) represents a “backlash” against court decisions in New York and California requiring states to recognize same-sex unions as marriage. (Dale Carpenter made a similar point Friday in the Liberty Education Forum’s panel, “Protecting our Families.”)
Some argue that once courts have expanded the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions, Americans will change their attitudes toward same-sex marriage. These polls do show a change in attitude, though not in the direction that gay activists would like.
As I have written before, if we want to change attitudes on gay marriage, we’re not going to do it by fighting this battle in the courts. Instead, we need to make our case directly to the American people. And we do this by talking about marriage the way most Americans talk about marriage, using such words as “commitment” and “responsibility” and not “equality” and “rights.”
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com