February 12, 2010
Momentum for marriage and civil unions
Posted by: Chris
More very encouraging results from a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released today showing the public is evenly divided on whether gay couples should be able to marry, with 47% in favor and 50% opposed.
That statistic is remarkable most for how much it contrasts with the nation's elected officials, from the president on down, who overwhelmingly oppose marriage equality. I would venture to say that less than half the percentage of Democratic politicians back gay marriage as do their partisan supporters.
Also striking is the degree to which the South stands as a bulwark against our basic equality. Without my home region living up to its long and ugly history of civil rights intransigence, support for gay marriage would be overwhelming -- not that overwhelming support on a gay rights issue necessarily translates into political action by Democrats and Republican moderates.
Fortunately, the dustbin destination of hetero-only marriage laws is every bit as certain as it was for Jim Crow segregation. Two-thirds of adults under 30 support marriage for gays and -- for the first time ever -- a majority "strongly favor" our full equality.
Let's be clear about what this means: it should be clearer than ever that our civil rights movement is not over whether we win but how soon; it is inconceivable that Congress would pass, or the states would adopt, a federal constitutional amendment banning gays from marrying when two-thirds of young people are with us, and half the population overall.
So enough with the pussyfooting in Congress and the White House. Barney Frank needs to sign on today as a co-sponsor of DOMA repeal (the Respect for Marriage Act), and we need clear backing from the House and Senate leadership, as well as the White House.
The new ABC News/WaPo poll also shows support for civil unions reaching historic new levels, a full two-thirds of the public now believes we are at least entitled to all the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. In addition to DOMA repeal, which would still leave gays in most states with no federal recognition of their relationships, the Congress needs to take up federal civil unions legislation, ensuring equal recognition without regard to bias at the state level.
Finally, the Post offered some detail on the marriage numbers, which suggest that on marriage as on Don't Ask Don't Tell, a small percentage is more supportive of our civil rights when we are described as "gay and lesbian" as opposed to "homosexual." Not coincidentally, gays have for decades now preferred the former over the latter designation.
If you haven't already, I'd also encourage you to sign the Freedom to Marry Pledge announced this week by Evan Wolfson's FreedomToMarry.org and its new online coordinator Michael Crawford, who did a great job spearheading the marriage movement here in Washington, D.C.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
The comments to this entry are closed.