Tag Archives: Same-sex marriage

President Obama opposes the same-sex marriage ban

President Obama waded into the same-sex marriage ban Friday, announcing his opposition to the constitutional amendment on the state ballot in May.

Why would he get involved in a state issue? Certainly, he thinks he can gain politically in a state that is a key to his re-election strategy.

The latest Elon University Poll showed he may just do that. Fifty-four percent of North Carolinians said they would oppose an amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. Thirty-eight percent support it. In addition, women strongly oppose the amendment banning same-sex marriage. And Obama has to win the female vote to win the election.

The News & Observer quoted Michael Munger, a political scientist at Duke, as saying that Obama has little to lose.

“This is a no-lose political proposition for him,” Munger said. “President Obama gets to come out and say ‘Hey, gay community, I am taking a stand that you care about.’ But by the time November rolls around, no one is going to remember, or the ones that do would have voted against Obama anyway.”

While his stand may help him politically, the question that won’t be answered until May 8 is whether the president’s opposition to the amendment helps the effort to defeat it. His opposition could make the distinction between how people feel and how the amendment is worded on the ballot clearer. Some polls say that people support the amendment when they are asked about it using the specific amendment wording.

From N.C. Policy Watch: The language of that amendment takes the hard line: it would ban all state recognition of same sex couples permanently – whether it’s called “marriage,” “civil union,” or something else.

If this truth is made clear to voters, the amendment will almost certainly fail as voters will quickly view it as too extreme. If, however, voters are allowed to approach the vote as (incorrectly) a simple “up or down” referendum on what they think of same sex “marriage,” it has a strong chance of passage.

 — John Robinson

Why the same-sex marriage ban may pass

Given the polling results, it might appear that the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions will get swatted into the cheap seats to use a basketball analogy during ACC Tournament time.

Not so fast. There are a few reasons that the amendment may win the day. And I’ll outline them in a moment. But first, here is a taste of the national sentiment on this issue.

Same sex marriage legislation is a hot topic around the nation. It is expected to be on the ballot this year in five states. It even has implications in the presidential election.

In California: A Field Poll revealed that 59 percent of California registered voters support same-sex marriage — the highest level of support ever recorded during 35 years of surveying issue in the state.

In Maryland: A new poll commissioned by Marylanders for Marriage Equality shows 52 percent of respondents would “probably” or “definitely” vote for the same-sex marriage bill if it is on the ballot in November. The survey showed that 44 percent would “probably” or “definitely” vote the measure down.

In New Jersey: Most New Jerseyans support gay marriage, but they also believe the issue should be put to a referendum, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

In I0wa: A majority of Iowans oppose passage of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows.

Back in North Carolina, if the race for the Republican nomination is still on in May — and it could well be — then expect a heavy GOP turnout at the polls. Given that more Republicans support the amendment, their turnout may overpower the more liberal opposition to the amendment. It may well be up to amendment opponents to energize their supporters to actually get to the polls. (I suspect they know that already.)

If the 18-35 year-old voters don’t turn out in sizable numbers — they tend to have weaker turnout than older voters — then that will further weaken the opposition.

Be ready for a full-court press ad campaign from both camps.

The Elon Poll survey North Carolina residents, without making a distinction of whether people say they are likely to vote. While I doubt it skews the results in a measurable way because the opposition is strong, it could.

Update: N.C. Policy Watch points out another good reason. The language of that amendment takes the hard line: it would ban all state recognition of same sex couples permanently – whether it’s called “marriage,” “civil union,” or something else.

If this truth is made clear to voters, the amendment will almost certainly fail as voters will quickly view it as too extreme. If, however, voters are allowed to approach the vote as (incorrectly) a simple “up or down” referendum on what they think of same sex “marriage,” it has a strong chance of passage.

— John Robinson

Opposition to a same-sex marriage ban strengthens

You could make the case — at this point, I would — that the hottest ticket on the May 8 ballot in North Carolina isn’t the GOP presidential primary or the gubernatorial primaries. Rather, it is a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.

The Elon University Poll results are clear that most residents — 54% — oppose the amendment. Support for full marriage rights for same sex couples or civil unions has gotten stronger in each of the four Elon polls over the past year.

Why the shift? From the Los Angeles Times: Proponents of gay marriage, who traditionally frame the cause as a matter of equality and civil rights, are increasingly invoking something else: family. And the tactic seems to be working.

The message “used to be one that focused on rights, parity in benefits,” said Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group based in Washington, D.C. Since about 2008, Sainz said, same-sex marriage activists have begun “talking about love, honor and commitment.”

Looking deeper into the results indicate that women strongly oppose the amendment banning same-sex marriage. When I say strongly, I’m talking 63%. Breaking it down even more, 42% of women said they supported full marriage rights for same-sex couples and 26% said they wouldn’t go that far but would support civil unions. Men weren’t nearly as supportive: 28% said they supported full marriage rights and 29% supported civil unions.

Other trends in North Carolina:

* Self-described liberals are much stronger in support of some sort of legal recognition for same-sex couples (87%) than self-described conservatives are in their opposition (47%). In fact, 51% of conservatives support legal recognition of sam-sex couples.

* A majority of all age groups oppose the amendment. People 55 and older have the softest opposition, but 56% of them still said they would support either full marriage rights for same sex couples or civil unions. 

Despite the trends, there is good reason to think that the amendment may pass. I explain that….in my next post. (Just like American Idol does when it breaks for commercial.)

The News & Observer news story on the same-sex marriage poll results.

— John Robinson