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Queer Talk: Marriage Equality Support in AZ, MI, VA

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A recent Gallup Poll shows that support for marriage equality continues to increase across the nation, while state polls also show growing support, including in AZ, MI, VA, (Arizona, Michigan and Virginia). While not alone, those three states show significant swings.

In general, as the Gallup Poll report headlines, “Same-Sex Marriage Support Solidifies Above 50% in U.S.,” noting that the support “has been 50% or above in three separate readings in last year.”

David Badash, at the New Civil Rights Movement, looks at the three specific states in particular.

Arizona: Majority Now Support Same-Sex Marriage:

The majority of residents in Arizona now support same-sex marriage, despite the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex couples marrying. 55 percent believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, including ‘women (60%), Hispanics (75%), liberals (67%), moderates (64%), registered Independents (64%), Democrats (70%), and voters under 55 years of age (60%),’ according to a Rocky Mountain Poll released this week.

Almost Six Out Of Ten Voters In Michigan Now Support Same-Sex Marriage:

The majority of voters in Michigan —almost six out of ten – now support the right of same-sex couples to marry, according to a new poll just released by The Detroit News:
Support for same-sex marriage has increased to 56.8 percent, up 12.5 percentage points from last year – movement fueled largely by shifting opinions from Republicans and independents, the poll of 600 registered voters by the Glengariff Group Inc. showed.
The support is in contrast to 2004, when Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

In Virginia (Yes, Virginia) The Majority Of Voters Now Support Same-Sex Marriage:

In a stunning and dramatic embrace, the majority of voters in Virginia now support the right of same-sex couples to marry – and by a wide margin. In 2011, only 46 percent wanted to make marriage equality legal. Now, just two years later, that number stands at 56 percent – a ten-point leap. And now, only one-third – just 33 percent – wish to have same-sex marriage illegal, according to a just-released Washington Post poll.

More from Gallup’s national poll

Fifty-three percent of Americans say the law should recognize same-sex marriages, the third consecutive reading of 50% or above in Gallup polling over the past year. The 53% in favor ties the high to this point, also measured last November and in May 2011.
Gallup’s May 2-7 poll suggests Americans’ support for gay marriage is solidifying above the majority level. …

Just three years ago, support for gay marriage was 44%. The current 53% level of support is essentially double the 27% in Gallup’s initial measurement on gay marriage, in 1996.
Nearly all U.S. subgroups are more likely to favor gay marriage now than in the past.

Politically, Democrats, independents, and liberals all show increasing support for gay marriage over time, with each well above the majority level now. Republicans, conservatives, and moderates are more likely to favor gay marriage now than in 1996, but the increase in support among these groups may have stalled. Thus, most of the increase in the percentage favoring legal gay marriage in the last three years has come among left-leaning groups politically.

I found this particularly interesting:(emphasis added throughout)

Although a majority of Americans themselves support legal gay marriage, an even larger majority perceive that most Americans come down on the side of not legalizing it. When asked their impression of how most Americans feel about the issue, 63% say the public is opposed to gay marriage and 30% say the public favors it. These data suggest that a segment of Americans who support same-sex marriage believe that their views are in the minority, while in reality they are in the majority.

And this:

That growing public support has helped promote a change in many states’ laws, and the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act itself is uncertain, with the Supreme Court set to rule on a challenge to it in the coming weeks. Of course, states that have passed gay marriage laws tend to be the most politically Democratic and liberal states, so a real tipping point may be the fate of gay marriage in the more politically moderate or competitive states, many of which passed constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage in the 2004 elections.

For years, decades actually, it’s been clear that younger people are more likely to support marriage equality, and LGBT equality in general. However, writing about the Gallup poll, Ruy Teixeira, at Think Progress observes that the

… 41 percent (support) for 65 (years) and over sounds, and is, low compared to the 70 percent figure for the 18-29 demographic. But that 41 percent is also 27 points higher than the figure for 65 and over in 1996 (a mere 14 percent supported legal same-sex marriage then). Essentially none of this change is accounted for by the entrance of younger cohorts into the 65 and over group because 50-64 year olds in 1996 were just as conservative (15 percent support) as those 65 and over.

The same logic applies to the big shifts we see in every age group 30 and over in the 17 year period. It’s not just younger cohorts replacing older cohorts within various age groups: everybody is becoming more liberal on this issue. That is why we’re seeing such rapid change – and why it’s likely to continue for many years to come.

I think it will be “many years to come” over which changes will continue to take place, and support for marriage equality will grow. It’s very exciting, to see so much happening in the last few years, even the last few months. But of course, it all happened in the same way future changes will occur … by persistent advocacy at every level, even when, especially when, the opposition wins particular battles. The passing of all those state mini-DOMAs and constitutional amendments was painful, but people kept fighting and educating. We’re seeing the results, and we’ll see more in the future.

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4 Responses to Queer Talk: Marriage Equality Support in AZ, MI, VA

  1. Taylor Marsh May 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    Squeeze the Republicans until they SQUEAL.

    • Joyce Arnold May 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

      The many (but not all) who remain in the “homosexuals are bad and scary” camp are definitely squealing.

  2. tonyb39 May 16, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Hi Joyce,
    I as a man and a gay one at that thank you so much! You keep me informed about this issue and so much more. Wow, i also appreciate Taylor, amazing she shares this fine place with you and other’s.. Tony

  3. fairmindedindependent May 16, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    Heck, from what some of the polls I have been reading even moderate Republicans want Marriage Equality especially the younger generation of Republicans. As a gay person myself, I never thought I would see the day when all these states are passing Marriage Equality and the polls in other states want Marriage Equality also. Arizona, Virginia, Michigan are not what you call liberal states. All three have Republican Governors and Majority’s in their statehouses. So I hope Republicans wise up and either get on the train or get run over. The South is going to be the last region to have Marriage Equality. The Northeast, Northwest, Midwest, Central Region all have at least one state with Marriage Equality. Hopefully the South is next. I am keeping my eye on Oregon and Hawaii, I would be almost sure they would have passed Marriage Equality by now.

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