California Falls

The California Supreme Court has ruled that California’s legal prohibition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

More on the story here.

But it isn’t over. There is likely to be an initiative on the November ballot which, if passed, will amend the state constitution to define marriage properly. By the end of the year we will know what kind of state California is to become.

A liberal website called “The California Progress Report” has an article discussing the latest Field poll pertaining to same-sex marriage. If I’m reading the numbers correctly, the November initiative has a good chance of passing, despite the fact that support for same-sex marriage has been steadily increasing. Let’s take a look:

“The Field poll questions have remained the same during the six surveys analyzed here. In 1985, only 30% of those polled supported same sex marriage. This increased to 38% in 1997, and the average for surveys in 2003-2006 showed support by 43%.

While only 25% of those born before 1940 are in support, that number has grown by 5% over these years. Those born in the 1940’s are supportive at 40%, also a gain of 5%. Similar 7 and 8% increases are found for those born in the 1950’s and 1960’s, reaching above the 40% threshold. Those born in the 1970’s and 1980’s are in support by 51% and 58%.

The same trends are apparent over time in those who identify themselves as ‘liberals’ (increasing from 43% to 76%, a gain of 33 points) and ‘moderates’ (climbing from 31 to 44%, a gain of 15 points). However, amongst self-styled ‘conservatives’ a reverse trend is seen and the numbers have dipped from 20% support to 15%. There is an astonishing 61% spread between liberals and conservatives on this issue.

The same general patterns hold for partisan identification, with Democrats supportive at a level of 59%, independents at 41%, and Republicans at 23%. There has been a marked shift in increased support over time amongst Democrats and independents, while Republicans are slightly less supportive by 3 points.

Support has increased in every religious group identified, but the lowest level of support is amongst Protestants at 28% and represents a gain of only 4%. Catholics jumped 13% to 38% support. Those with ‘No religion’ had the highest level of support at 71% followed by those who are Jewish at 70% (reported as being a small sample, but with this number being higher it must be of statistical significance), and ‘Other religions’ at 55%.

Asians showed the highest support level based on race or ethnicity at 55%. White non-Hispanics at 46% followed this, then Latinos at 35% and Blacks (a small sample) at 23%. There were strong gains in each of these except for blacks, which were down by 1%, probably statistically insignificant, except in indicating no real change as opposed to other categories.

There appears to be a gender gap with female support at 47% and male support at 39%.

There is a strong correlation with level of education with college graduates supportive at 64%, followed by some college at 41%, and high school or less being at 34%.”

The trend is distressing, of course, but support for same-sex marriage in California is not likely to be much greater than 43% today. The key would seem to be getting out the vote among Latinos, Blacks, and those with low education levels in November.


6 thoughts on “California Falls

  1. I think you’ll be surprised at how Latinos and Blacks as well as the non-college educated will NOT be voting for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. In fact, the Limits to Marriage folks barely have enough signatures to get it on the ballot, and may still fall short.

    Face it, the wave of the future is equality for all, not separate but equal. If your church doesn’t want to perform gay marriage ceremonies, that’s totally fine by me. But my state government has no right saying it’s okay for my girlfriend and I to get married but not okay for my gay friends. They don’t have the right to discriminate based on the prejudice of a bunch of dinosaurs.


  2. “I think you’ll be surprised at how Latinos and Blacks as well as the non-college educated will NOT be voting for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.”

    Perhaps you missed that part of the article. According to the latest California Field poll Latinos, Blacks, and those without college education show the LEAST support for same-sex marriage: 35%, 23%, and 34% respectively. Granted, that may not translate into votes for the initiative, but it’s the best proxy we have.

    “In fact, the Limits to Marriage folks barely have enough signatures to get it on the ballot, and may still fall short.”

    You are quite wrong. Last month over 1.1 million signatures were submitted to the counties. Only 694,354 signatures are required.


  3. I’m still unclear about the specifics–since they still have to tabulate those signatures and make sure they’re all registered voters, I don’t know that 1.1 million gross will yield 700,000, but even if it does, I don’t know that this automatically qualifies them for the ballot.

    Even if they get on, I think you’ll find that the prospect of effectively divorcing thousands of already-married couples is going to prevent people from voting in this amendment. They’d be meddling with equality by amending the constitution to limit people’s freedoms–most people know that constitutions are built upon preserving freedoms and enshrining them, rather than taking them away–even if a slim majority wants to.

    I was listening to an old Folkways record today, of songs from the Suffrage movement of the 1800’s. And those songs by women, who were enraged that they could be taxed without having full rights in our society, really hit home when I thought about this current civil rights battle. It’s unfair that good, law-abiding citizens of this state, who pay serious taxes and who you know are oriented ineffably towards loving members of the same-sex, should be blocked from full participation in that state’s sanctioned marriages just because some people’s misinterpretations of the Bible.


  4. I read the sad news just this morning. Your assessment about “getting out the vote among Latinos, Blacks, and those with low education levels” is absolutely right.

    I’m not sure if you caught this story a few days ago: Sacramento Mayoral Candidate Criticized for Opposing Same-sex Marriage. Former NBA player Kevin Johnson was the only one out of eight to say, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”

    I remember back in the ’80s when White Liberals tended to give Blacks a pass when it came LGBTQ… issues because Blacks were seen by progressive non-racists as less enlightened. They only needed re-education, it was thought.

    Times have changed, and Blacks and other minorties are now deemed equal opportunity hate criminals. It’s time for us to form broader alliances, expecially at the local and state level, on these social issues.


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