Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why straight people support marriage equality

But what I found most revealing and instructive was this: among voters who saw the desire by gays and lesbians to be legally wedded as a bid primarily for the rights and protections that heterosexual couples have, same-sex marriage was a loser. Only 26 percent of them voted for its legalization, while 74 percent voted against. 
But among voters who believed that gays and lesbians were chiefly interested in being able to pledge the fullest and most public commitment possible to their partners, same-sex marriage was a huge, huge winner. Eighty-five percent of those voters supported it, while only 15 percent opposed it. 
That’s a fascinating microcosm of, and window into, broader political dynamics. When an initiative in this country is framed or understood largely as an attempt by a given constituency to get more, the opposition to it is frequently bolstered, the resistance strengthened. Even if the constituency is trying to right a wrong or rectify a disadvantage. 
“Give me” can be a risky approach. “Let me” is often a better one, and when voters hear gays and lesbians asking to participate in a hallowed institution for the most personal and heartfelt of reasons, voters may have a more positive reaction. At least that’s the suggestion of the research and the interviews that Third Way has done.
[Opposition is also from] the most frequent churchgoers. The Third Way report notes that “religiosity correlated to marriage opposition in Washington. While marriage lost among regular churchgoers (those who attend once a week or more), the referendum garnered 53 percent support among those who attend church once or twice a month.”
And that is one of the reasons the biggest growing religious identification in the US is "none".


Want Some Wood said...

Excellent point that I think dovetails with the arguments that I and others (including I.T., if I understand her correctly) about the best argument for gay marriage rights being an argument for marriage.

Want Some Wood said...

Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention that while the fastest-growing group may be "none" (as many liberal bloggers never seem to tire of pointing out), "none" is still a minority category (on the order of 25% as a generous estimate), even among people under 30. What is interesting is to find churches that are both progressive on marriage equality and growing, such as this one:

IT said...

Yes, that's it exactly-- strengthening the institution for all.

We actually attend a liberal and growing Episcopal parish, which blessed our marriage two years ago.

Mainline Protestants as well as lay Catholics are actually quite supportive of equality--and increasingly speak out in favor. But alas, they've let the anti's co-opt the term "Christian" for themselves, which gives everyone a bad name.