So Much For That Gay Marriage Backlash


For years, Christian right leaders have been warning that the trend toward legalizing same-sex marriage was going to cause a massive backlash of angry Americans, even going so far as to claim that it’s going to cause another civil war. A new poll pretty much destroys that idea.

Conducted by Alex Lundry through his firm TargetPoint Consulting and obtained by POLITICO, it singled out the views of one person, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who predicted in 2012 — before Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act were struck down — that the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage would cause “a revolution. You will see Americans saying, ‘You know what? Enough of this.’ It could explode and just break this nation apart.”

Conducting his poll at the beginning of June, Lundry didn’t find much support for that kind of revolt when the quote was read to respondents, with 59 percent overall disagreeing with Perkins. Of people who said they were opposed to gay marriage, 58 percent said they wouldn’t do anything, despite disagreeing and being disappointed in the decision.

“Only one directly mentions the word ‘revolution,’ five voters threaten to leave the country, and a scant fifteen people (3% of opponents) mention any form of protest,” reads a prepared polling memo. “Clearly, there is no real threat of widespread calamity should we extend the freedom to marry to gays and lesbians.”

Support for gay marriage is at 56 percent, with 37 percent opposed, squaring with public polls. Asked to rate the degree of their support, 44 percent said they “strongly” support legalization, with only 28 percent opposed.

There were always two models for how this was going to go. The model favored by the Christian right groups was that Americans would rise up against this outrageous break with tradition, or alternatively that it would spark another Great Awakening or a “mighty move of the spirit of God” or some such other rot, and that they would win the battle over LGBT equality. The other model — the realistic one — was that after an initial spasm of strong opposition a decade ago, people would get used to the idea, stop finding it so threatening and slowly come to accept it.

That has been the pattern throughout American history. And it ends with overwhelming acceptance of equality and the marginalization of those who oppose it (and then the same people who opposed it often claiming that they were for it all along). That was pretty much the inevitable result, but people like Tony Perkins have to pretend otherwise both because of their ideological zealotry and because you don’t keep the money flowing in by sounding defeatist.

Comments

  1. says

    “So Much For That Gay Marriage Backlash ”

    Yeah, sure, laugh now, Brayton. Wait until that SharialawObamaFEMAdeathcamp opens up near YOUR town. You’ll be laughin’ out the other side of your keffiyeh, then, pal!

  2. garnetstar says

    It’s especially hard not to become used to gay marriage and find it non-threatening, because it has, in fact, no consequences for straights at all. When gay people around you get married, literally nothing changes in your life. It’s mighty easy to get used to that.

    People have their own troubles to deal with, and something that doesn’t affect their lives in any way sinks far down on their list of things to worry about. Gay marriage eventually ends up right under “Invasion of aliens from Jupiter”.

  3. raven says

    five voters threaten to leave the country,…

    Fundie xians never, ever walk their talk!!!

    If they were serious and renounced their US citizenship, we could raise enough money for plane tickets and a farewell party that lasts for days in a few minutes.

    And where would they go? The US is the most backwards and Oogedy Boogedy of the developed nations. All the rest are Socialist and many long ago legalized gay marriage.

    The current xian utopias are Russia, Uganda, and Nigeria.

  4. raven says

    OT but related. Tony Perkins is a Southern Baptist.

    Lifeway News SBC:
    SBC leaders lament lack of evangelistic passion evidenced by annual report
    May 28, 2014 —Leave a Comment
    By Carol Pipes

    While the number of SBC churches increased, reported membership of those churches declined by 136,764, down 0.9 percent to 15.7 million members. Primary worship attendance declined 2.21 percent to an average of 5.8 million Sunday worshippers.

    For the second year in a row, Southern Baptists experienced a decline in baptisms, down 1.46 percent to 310,368.

    and

    Total and undesignated church receipts reported through the ACP decreased 2.7 percent and 1.4 percent respectively. Total mission expenditures reported by churches also declined by 1.5 percent in 2013.

    There is some other good news. The Southern Baptists have lost members for now, 7 years in a row!!! Their loot intake is down also. They somewhat cook their membership numbers so who knows what they actual ones are.

    The decline is significant, 0.9% in members, 2.21% in attendance, 2.7% in loot. One quarter of all churches reported no baptisms meaning the members are on average really old.

    PS I’m having more and more trouble tracking the death of US xianity. The steadily declining membership numbers are getting buried in obscure places and one of the main reporting organizations, the NCC has stopped even reporting them.

  5. says

    To be fair, there would have been a giant backlash, but there was a game on, and they’re pretty sure that [Local Sports Team] is going all the way this year.

  6. dingojack says

    Oh and there was mildly damp weather, plus someone overheard some random guy on plane mention he heard that a friend of a friend hinted at BLACK HELICOPTERS AND KILLER DRONES!!
    So we didn’t go on the march*….
    :) Dingo
    ———-
    * besides, I heard about 100 others or so marched. That aught to keep them Gheys quakin’ in their ballet-shoes.

  7. rabbitscribe says

    “It is to be hoped that the Supreme Court is listening.

    No it isn’t. It is to be hoped that the Court is reading the many recent appellate decisions upholding marriage equality. The judiciary is not a popularity contest.

  8. briandavis says

    It’s especially hard not to become used to gay marriage and find it non-threatening, because it has, in fact, no consequences for straights at all.

    No consequences? What if a coworker invites me to his gay wedding? I might see two men kiss!! If that isn’t just cause for a revolution then I don’t know what is.

  9. dingojack says

    briandavis – perhaps the RWNJ confused ‘people’s revolution’ with ‘puerile revulsion’.
    Dingo

  10. John Pieret says

    rabbitscribe @ 8:

    It is to be hoped that the Court is reading the many recent appellate decisions upholding marriage equality. The judiciary is not a popularity contest.

    Actually, there haven’t been any Federal appellate decisions yet (New Mexico’s supreme court struck down that state’s anti SSM law but based on the state’s constitution), though they should start coming in the next few months.

    You may think the Supreme Court doesn’t consider how Americans feel about an issue but it does. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2012 raised questions about how far she would go in backing gay marriage in a speech at Columbia Law School. At that time she said the court “moved too far too fast” when it made abortion legal nationwide in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case. In short, the country wasn’t ready for it. Indications that SSM has broad public support and that most opposition is only tepid could, indeed, have an effect on the vote, especially that of Justice Kennedy.

  11. garnetstar says

    John @11, you are correct about the court listening to the public. And, I’ve always wondered about the ethics of that. If they determined in 1973 that abortion was a constitutional right, do they then just say “Oh yes, your fundamental rights are being denied, but it’s not a popular issue right now, so just put up with the injustice until the country catches up.” Abortion might still not be legal if they waited for the country to be “ready” enough.

    So, I’m wondering that justices like Ginsberg actually say that that affects decisions? Isn’t it unethical?

    I do think that the court ruled so narrowly on Prop 8 and DOMA (i.e., not declaring same sex marriage a federal right) so that state, then federal, courts could do exactly what they have done, doing the Supreme Court’s job for them, in fact. Now that everyone has gotten used to that happening, the Court can suddenly find that gay marriage is constitutionally protected.

  12. D. C. Sessions says

    Indications that SSM has broad public support and that most opposition is only tepid could, indeed, have an effect on the vote, especially that of Justice Kennedy.

    Put another way, at least Team Republican has their eyes on the impact that rulings will have on elections and fundraising.

  13. John Pieret says

    I’ve always wondered about the ethics of that. If they determined in 1973 that abortion was a constitutional right, do they then just say “Oh yes, your fundamental rights are being denied, but it’s not a popular issue right now,

    Part of it is that most of the sort of rights in question (abortion, SSM) are not enumerated in the Bill of Rights but come from the “penumbra” and “emanations” of other constitutional protections, as was particularly the case with the “right of privacy” first found in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965. Other sources are the Ninth Amendment (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people) and the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses. Partly these rights are historical … do Americans (or the court’s sense of American sentiment) recognize such rights or rights so similar that it would be inconsistent to recognize one and not the other? In Griswold, which involved the right of married couples to have access to contraceptives, the right to privacy in one’s bedroom was arguably recognized by most Americans. Laws against certain sexual acts (between heterosexuals) were not being enforced and laws against adultery and unmarried sexual intercourse were enforced spottily, if at all. The court could conclude that Americans expected to be left alone in their sexual relationships, at least among married couples. The right to privacy was later extended to unmarried couples and (after the hiccup of Bowers v. Hardwick) to gays.

    The court can always duck a case. It can refuse to hear any case for any reason and for no reason. Also, it can issue a very narrow ruling and there is almost always ways it can duck a case on technical grounds, such as “standing” and the absence of a “Federal question.”

    I wouldn’t call it unethical exactly. It is that the country has to have some sense that a new declaration of a right is, in fact, a right.

    Of course, this can blow up in the court’s face, as in the case of abortion. As Ed pointed out recently:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2014/05/30/the-christian-right-started-over-segregation/

    … at first, the religious right was not upset by Roe v. Wade. It was originally mostly a Catholic issue (for the hierarchy, not so much the laity). But conservative Christian leaders were successful in using it to get the religious right to become involved in politics. I doubt, however, if they can do the same with SSM now. They already whipped up a political fever over it once (getting Bush elected to a second term) and this poll indicates issue fatigue has set in, especially now that they can see how they are being viewed as bigots wanting to deny other people rights that have no impact on themselves.

  14. teele says

    garnetstar @3: “It’s especially hard not to become used to gay marriage and find it non-threatening, because it has, in fact, no consequences for straights at all. When gay people around you get married, literally nothing changes in your life.

    Nothing changes at all — unless you own a flower shop, bridal shop, tuxedo rental shop, catering company, travel agency, event venue, hotel or bakery, or are a musician, DJ, or lawyer specializing in divorce. Then it may very well change your life — you may be getting more business than you can handle with your current staff, and be forced to pay additional taxes on the extra revenue being generated. That would just suck, I tell you. The fish-monger florists and bakers are right to try and head that extra work off at the pass. After all, you can’t serve the Lord when you’re serving customers!

  15. chilidog99 says

    I was going to work in a joke about backlash and santorum, but i’ll leave it be.

  16. says

    I met my first married gay person last week. I was chatting to a young woman who had just moved here (Austin, TX) from California and when I asked her what prompted the move, she said that her wife had found a job here.

    Gotta admit that it still sounded strange to hear it out loud, even though I’ve known several openly gay people, including couples, for years. I guess it’s tough to shed yourself of all those ingrained preconceived notions about gender and sexuality, especially when it comes to first impressions.

    Then again, I met someone a few weeks ago who introduced herself as a transgender author. I’m sure she would been cool with it, but I chickened out of asking her if she meant that they were a transgender person who writes novels, or just someone who writes transgender novels. We live in interesting times.

  17. says

    A lot of these predictions may be due to misreading the mind of the public by assuming it shares the mind of your subculture. Or it could be wishful thinking. But much of the time i think these predictions are suggestions intended to be planted in the minds of the people, which they then attempt to water and fertilize with further bullshit.

  18. whheydt says

    Re; John Pieret…

    I would think the “months” until there an appellate decision would be minimal. The oral arguments in the Utah case were..March, or was it April? The Virginia case has also had oral arguments already.

    What I really wonder about is what will happen if all the appellate decisions in the various Circuits (just how many circuits are going to deal with these cases now that *every* state either has SSM or the is a Federal case over it) all come down on the same side the way that the District courts have done so far?

  19. John Pieret says

    whheydt:

    Presently there are appeals pending in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits.The Second Circuit has already ruled that, in cases involving LGBT people, that heightened scrutiny applies and nobody thinks same sex marriage bans can survive heightened scrutiny.

    If all the Circuits agree, SCOTUS can just let that stand and it will become the de facto law of the land … unless or until the balance on SCOTUS changes. Or the court can take it up and, in that case, you can have a 6-3 vote in favor of SSM, with Roberts joining in and writing the majority/plurality decision.

  20. matty1 says

    @18 How would one tell the gender of a book? Are we looking for pink or blue covers?

  21. colnago80 says

    Re John Pieret @ #21

    If all the pending appellate courts uphold the district court decisions, the Supreme Court could decide to pass on further appeals until there is a different ruling from another appellate court in which case they really have no option but to take the case. My sense is that the current court would prefer to punt on the issue, particularly Justice Kennedy, who may not be quite ready to come out in favor of SSM.

  22. John Pieret says

    colnago80:

    Kennedy was not anxious to do it in Windsor a year ago but with all the lower court cases going in the same direction, and assuming all the Circuit courds do the same, that might be what he needs to take the plunge. Roberts, seeing where history is going on this issue, might do the same so he can write the majority opinion and preserve the reputation of “his” court.

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