"The drive for gay marriage has prompted a clear backlash. The federal government and 30 states have adopted laws to ensure they will not have to recognize same-sex unions."
PUBLIC OPINION POLLS ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: U.S. and Canada
A battle has been in progress for years over whether equal rights and equal protection against discrimination should be extended to homosexuals. Recently, this has expanded into the area of same-sex marriage. The core conflict is whether:
The number of people who oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians is far greater than the number of homosexuals. Few politicians are willing to alienate 50% of the population in order to extend equal rights to, say, 5%. Change will probably have to come through the courts.
As of early 2000:
[Author's note: History has shown that once a discriminated-against group organizes and brings their demands for equal rights before the public, that equal rights are eventually granted. This has happened in the past with respect to slavery, racial segregation, women's suffrage, equal opportunities for women, and inter-racial marriage. Somehow society has adapted to the changes. We expect that equality will be granted to gays and lesbians by actions of state governments in the U.S. and at the federal level in Canada. But it will not be a simple change in legislation that will change the existing marriage acts to include gays and lesbians. It will probably take the form of legislation creating a new class of relationship called a same-sex partnership or civil union, or some similar term. This new form of government-recognized relationship will have rights fully equal to those of heterosexual married couples, at least on the state/provincial level. This happened first in Vermont.]
1996-MAR: The Gallup Organization found that 68% of American adults opposed gay marriages; 27% were in favor.
1996-JUN: An American public opinion poll was taken in by ICR Survey Research Group of Media, PA. Results are correct within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
1996-JUN: Canadian data: Probably by coincidence, a poll was conducted in Canada at about the same time as the ICR survey. This was the National Angus Reid / Southam News poll. Angus Reid is Canada's leading polling research group; the Southam News is a large news organization in the country. 1
Support for legal recognition of same-sex marriages varies greatly across the country: 58% in Quebec, 38% in Alberta. Opposition was highest in Alberta at 59%, in the prairie provinces (Alberta Saskatchewan and Manitoba) at 54%, and in Ontario at 53%. Ontario is Canada's most populous province. Alberta is religiously very conservative.
1996-SEP: Women in Technology International (WITI) is an "association of 6,000 women, 95% of whom are professional women working in technology organizations." One would expect that the would have a high approval rating of same-sex marriages because they are women and because most women in technology organizations are young. "...for example, the number of undergraduate EE degrees earned by women has leaped nearly 10-fold over the past two decades." The poll results from their membership were not surprising:
1997-APR-19: A a telephone poll in Oregon found that only 37% of adults favored passing a bill that prohibited same-sex marriages; 56% opposed the bill.
1997: A variety of polls indicated that women are about evenly divided on whether gays and lesbians should be given equal access marriage. Americans of both genders under the age of 35 are also evenly matched. A minority of registered voters in the US say that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who support gay rights, including gay marriage.
1998-JUL: Princeton Survey Research Associates conducted a telephone poll for Newsweek magazine on 1998-JUL-28 to 31. Involved were 602 randomly selected adults for the "overall population" responses and 502 randomly selected gay men and lesbians for the "gay" responses. Margin of error is 4 and 5%, 19 times out of 20.
The magazine reported that young adults (ages 18-29 ) were "significantly more accepting of gay marriage" than people over 30. And baby boomers were more tolerant than people over 50. 2
1998-OCT: The Hololulu Star-Bulletin and NBC Hawaii conducted two polls during the weeks before a referendum on same-sex marriages. The referendum gave the Hawaii Legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite sex couples.
The polling company, Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research Inc., attributed the flip-flop to the confusion over the wording of the referendum. Those opposing same-sex marriages were to vote "yes;" those in favor were to vote "no." 3
1999-JUN: Canadian data: The Angus Reid Group conducted a survey for the Globe and Mail (Canada's national newspaper) and CTV (a TV network) from MAY-25 to MAY-30. The question was "Do you think homosexual couples who wish to marry should or should not qualify for legal recognition of the marriage?" The opinion of people under the age of 35 was unchanged over the previous 3 years; those over 34 showed the greatest increase in acceptance. 4
The margin of error is 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
One wonders what the results would have been if a second question had been added: whether the subjects were in favor of "civil unions" for same sex couples that granted the same benefits, rights and obligations as a marriage. The results would probably have been considerably more than 53% in favor. That is because many people want to reserve the word "marriage" to refer to a male-female union, while they would like to see gay and lesbian couples get equal rights.
The Canadian Members of Parliament are clearly out of synchronization with the Canadian people:
2000-FEB: U.S. data: A Harris Poll released in early 2000-FEB shows:
Opposition to same-sex marriage appears to be far below the level of opposition to marriage of mixed-race couples in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court declared state miscegenation laws unconstitutional.
2000-MAR: California data: A series of polls were taken during late 2000-FEB by the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Examiner. Another poll was taken by the Public Policy Institute of California during 2000-FEB. The polls asked the subject's opinion on Proposition 22 that would state that "Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized." The proposition was accepted by the voters on 2000-MAR-7.
Copyright ï¿½ 1996 to 1998 incl, 2000 & 2001 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance