News

Study shows voters not swayed on same-sex propositions by campaign rhetoric

Foundation's report comes on eve of today's federal court hearing on Prop. 8

A San Francisco-based foundation released a study Tuesday that shows that voters nationwide don't change their minds during the course of an election campaign on whether to approve a ban on same-sex marriage.

Patrick Egan, an assistant professor of political science at New

York University, said the study looked at whether ballot measure campaigns "change voters' hearts and minds in a particular direction."

"That just doesn't happen," Egan said.

The new study was released on the eve of today's nonjury trial on a lawsuit in which two couples contend that Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban enacted by California voters in 2008, is unconstitutional. The daylong hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for today in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker.

The trial is the nation's first on a U.S. constitutional challenge to a prohibition on gay marriage. Walker heard two and a half weeks of testimony in January.

The new study was commissioned by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, a private foundation that has among its goals the advancement of gay and lesbian rights. It examined more than 100 polls taken in the six months before votes on ballot measures on same-sex marriage and domestic partnership in 32 states between 1998 and 2009. In most of the elections, including one on California's Proposition 8 in 2008, voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage.

Political science professor Egan said: "This report indicates that neither advocates nor opponents (of same-sex marriage) tended to gain support in any consistent fashion during these campaigns, despite the millions of dollars spent by both sides over the past decade."

Representatives of gay rights groups said the lesson they draw from the study is that an attempt to influence citizens to support same-sex marriage needs to begin well before an election campaign.

Kate Kendell, executive director of the San Francisco-based

National Center of Lesbian Rights, said, "Clearly, the time to change hearts, minds and votes to support equality is before a campaign starts."

Egan said a second finding of the study is that polls consistently underestimate by about 3 points the number of people who will vote in support of a ban on same-sex marriage.

In advance of today's federal court hearing, The federal judge Walker issued a list of 39 wide-ranging questions to be answered in closing arguments.

The queries posed by Walker cover all sides and angles of the case on topics ranging from voter intent and the role of churches in the 2008 election campaign to the definition and purpose of marriage.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are asked to answer, "What is the import of evidence showing that marriage has been historically limited to a man and a woman?"

On the other side, the judge asked the sponsors of Proposition 8, "What evidence in the record shows that same-sex marriage is a drastic or far-reaching change to the institution of marriage?"

Both sides were asked, "What purpose does a law requiring that a marital partnership consist of one man and one woman serve?"

The list of questions has a dozen for each side and 15 more queries for both sides.

The plaintiffs are asked what the significance would be if the trial evidence shows that Mormon, Roman Catholic and evangelical churches participated in the Proposition 8 election campaign in "an attempt to enforce private morality."

The defenders of Proposition 8 are asked, "Why is legislating based on moral disapproval of homosexuality not tantamount to discrimination?"

Walker's decision in the case is expected to be issued in writing sometime after the closing arguments. The case is certain to be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and may reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by MarkD
a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 16, 2010 at 7:43 am

That's why we have a representative government. Every time the rights of a minority come up in a poll the minority loses. We don't run our country by the whim of the majority. If we did women and blacks would not be allowed to vote and blacks would still be slaves. Go get an American history education and rethink the purpose of this article.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 16, 2010 at 8:29 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The Founding Fathers believed that a Republic was a cure for the ills of Democracy.


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Posted by Dominic
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 16, 2010 at 9:33 am


I am tired of this nonsense. This issue has never been about the rights of a minority, although gays for this issue have used this argument very effectively. This is about an agenda to normalize, equalize a very small minority's values and sexual preferences. this has nothing to do with discrimination at all. In fact if you come out against this issue it is the gays who discriminate calling their descenters gay haters...Nothing could be further from the truth.

The lesson from this is how effective this small group in the world is at making their voice heard loudly in every fabric of our society (entertainment, politics, schools, etc). What they fail to mention is that in fact not all gays support this agenda. Additionally, radical gays tend to portray their group to be much larger than it actually is and perpetrate that everyone that doesn't support this issue is a gay hater and against equal rights...Again, this is a big lie! I don't want gay values pushed on society as being the same as other value systems when in fact they are not...This is preference and behavioral issue not a equal rights issue...


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 16, 2010 at 11:20 am

[Post removed because it was inappropriate and inane]


Like this comment
Posted by Dominic
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 16, 2010 at 4:21 pm

How easy it is to call people names and to slander them here...We see from the intellectual depth of the posts here who needs to get a life. If you don't have anything to add to the conversation, add to this forum by leaving it...


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 16, 2010 at 4:38 pm

[Post removed because it was inappropriate and inane]


Like this comment
Posted by Kyle
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm

I'm learning to ignore IGNORANCE ... if you know what I mean


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Web Link The Los Angeles Times provides on Prop 8 opinion.


Like this comment
Posted by Oh Dominic
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 16, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Oh Dominic, if we went back 150 years I bet we could find almost the exact same speech you just wrote, given by a white Southern leader. The only change you would have to make is to substitute slaves whenever you mentioned the word gay.

So sad.


Like this comment
Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 17, 2010 at 1:54 am

M. is a registered user.

Dom

Alright a relatively small minority of people want something, in the form of the right of marriage. I simply do not understand how granting this right to this group of people hurts anyone or anything.

I know that many arguments are from the viewpoint of religion, Christianity more specifically as Christianity still is the predominant religion in this state/nation.

I suspect that many people who believe that many people who are against gays being allowed to be married are against it because they can not understand what it is to be gay, in other words what it is to love another person of the same gender as themselves in the way that heterosexual people love a member of the opposite sex. Simply because they are not themselves gay, as such this idea is only an idea, or an abstraction, or a logic puzzle. In many cases it is a revolting thought to be intimate with a person of the same sex. This again is because the heterosexual person is not themselves gay. We could say that is this is a good example of fear of the unknown. An unknown that one can simply not know, they are just not biologically designed to do so. As such the notion of two people of the same gender being intimate, or married as a socially recognized couple for life is too foreign and therefor difficult to accept.

I myself do not know what or how it is to be gay, yet I simply cannot see how gay marriage harms anyone at all. If two people love each other in such a way that they wish to spend their lives together and make such a commitment publicly and legally binding I do not see why we should say no. After all it has no relevance on my life or well being what so ever or that of my family's friends etc...

In fact who someone loves, or how they express it is no business of mine, nor anyone else. Regardless of what one's religion may say about it, or what one may personally feel about how people love, is simply not their business.

In the end, just leave people alone, if two men or two women want to love each other, get married, spend their lives together, announce such a union publicly and make it a legally binging social contract so be it.

M.


Like this comment
Posted by Bm. D.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 17, 2010 at 3:15 am

Just legalize it and let's all move on with our lives. The world won't end, America won't be destroyed, and children won't be corrupted by allowing a gay couple to marry.

It will not affect you in any way whatsoever. It shouldn't even be an issue.


Like this comment
Posted by Dominic
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 17, 2010 at 8:35 am

The issue is not about love, it is not about the majority, nor is it about religion. The issue is about morality and right and wrong. Very unpopular words in today's liberal most anything goes if it "feels" right world. Comparing this issue with slavery is an apples and oranges argument since slavery by many folks view even back then was deemed immoral and wrong. Why do you think we had a civil war?

A more accurate argument is why don't we allow alcoholics and drug addicts to drink and drug legally whenever or wherever they want to? After all, many believe addiction and alcoholism are genetically disposed ills. The reason is that these things are bad for society and dangerous to others. On the surface it seems gay marriage harms no one. In fact this movement sells the gay lifestyle as normal already introducing into the elementary schools that it is ok and normal to be gay only confusing children who are too young to know whether they are or not...it is a travesty to sell it is confuse a child about there sexuality in elementary school.

If we defined marriage on the basis of love only, then why would we stop at gay marriage? There are folks that love many people why don't we allow them all to get married? It is because it is immoral / wrong.


No the world won't end if we allow gay marriage, but our society will decline a bit more as we remove another plank of morality from how we live. Lastly, if there were such a good thing, ask yourself why all gays are not for it? The movement would have us believe they are...When In fact, I have heard gays who are not for gay marriage say that there conservative friends are far more loving to them than their gay friends that don't agree with them on this issue.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

Gay is NOT a choice Dominic and if everyone was treated equal we would not have to teach it in school but because of people like you (closed minded, repubilcan (I bet) and religious (I bet too) and homophobic then this would not even be an issue.
All we want is EQUAL treatment and be able to have the same rights and benefits of others who are married at the state level and federal level then we would all be happy.
Until everyone is treated equal the fight will continue until we have EQUALITY for ALL...maybe our children who are being taught in school will NOT fear it but embrace it and in 20 years we will no longer be having this conversation.
I think if these are your views you need to move to the center of the coountry and be with all the others who think like you. It's both coasts that get it and SOON California will join.
I certainly would not want to be the judge who is going to make the final call on the Prop 8 issue NO matter how he decides he can't win and it will then be appealed to a higher court so it doesn't really matter what his vote is does it?
Until you are born GAY or know the discrimnation we feel from people like you I can't believe you know anything about this matter.
Walk in my shoes then maybe you can


Like this comment
Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Jun 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Michael,

Your own closed-mindedness clouds your perspective. "Closed minded republican, I bet", "religious, I bet too", and "homophobic" shows that you too are ready to label and pigeonhole anyone who doesn't share your view.

I, for one, don't care if gay people marry. My problem comes with the protracted legal wrangling. Gay-marriage in California has had TWO opportunities at the ballot box and lost big twice. The funny thing is that I've known several gay couples that had ceremonies (in California, even) and were "married", perhaps not with a legal document, but just as emotionally committed to each other.

Why waste court time and taxpayer dollars to forcefeed a law that only affects a small percentage of the population, and only in a ceremonial, bureaucratic way? All it does is raise the hackles of the anti-gay brigade, and essentially give them a podium for their views. Gay couples already get significant rights in CA... Do you really need to involve government paperwork in your relationships?


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm

From all the articles that I've read, it seems that the proponents of Prop 8 were unable to provide a strong defense of their position of depriving American citizens of their Civil Rights.

Hopefully, the Judge in the controversial case will rule in the interest of the state and allow Gay marriages to resume throughout California.

The morality of religious groups must NOT be allowed to impose it will upon selected groups so that they can be deprived of their civil rights! The defeat of Prop 8 is in the interest of the United States!


Like this comment
Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm

M. is a registered user.

Dom

I understand what you are trying to present, however the fact of the matter is that being gay is not a choice. People cannot choose to be gay or not gay, its just biology. Therefore the notion of "selling the gay lifestyle" is flawed. Being gay is biological, not a matter of lifestyle. As such your entire line of reasoning is flawed regarding this.

I will say that society is facing some major challenges, and the end result may or may not be something we recognize, if that is a bad or a good thing only time will tell.

Yes, society is changing and the "moral fabric" of society is changing, The values of old are being replaced by culturally relevant values for the modern world. Fear and discrimination based upon physical, or spiritual differences are antiquated notions that society at large is starting to reject. This is just the natural flow of societal progress.

Often throughout history times of great societal change or even technological change have brought about fears of the collapse of society and morality. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, but in the end the world keeps spinning, we all keep living, society does not fall apart. Change is always difficult.

M.


Like this comment
Posted by dublinmike
a resident of Dublin
on Jun 17, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Dominic, "No the world won't end if we allow gay marriage, but our society will decline a bit more" is similar to a rationale that prevented others from marring.


Like this comment
Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 18, 2010 at 1:49 am

M. is a registered user.

dublinmike
You are right many of the arguments the pro 8 folks used and continue to use are more than just similar, or reminiscent of arguments used to prevent other groups the right of marriage. The arguments are in fact the same. Looking back upon the civil rights movement of the last century, and before that woman's rights, the same arguments pop up over and over.

M.


Like this comment
Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 18, 2010 at 11:30 pm

M, and other guilt ridden appeasers of the gay agenda, read up on your history. Specifically, the fall of the Roman Empire. You may not think another chink in the armor of societal morality is a bad thing, but then again athe Roman's didn't see their downfall coming until it was too late, either.
Your cavalier attitude towards morality is selfish and juvenile.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 19, 2010 at 11:14 am

pleeeeeeeeeze esplain how the roman empire collapsed...wonder why they didn't see their downfall coming? hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

pleeeeeeese STEFFY...begone...

I was under the impression that the Aussies took over Rome, they or the Kiwi's?


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Fall of the Roman Empire:
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 20, 2010 at 2:49 am

M. is a registered user.

Imagine my surprise when you managed to post yet another crack pot post. Imagine my surprise when your understanding of history turned out to be lacking to say the least.

I will never understand how people are able to live functional lives while practicing such strict exclusionism.

Don't worry Steve, or the rest of your Morality Brigade friends, you will not be left out in the cold when the rest of society accepts everyone equally, we will simply drag you along kicking and screaming if necessary.

M.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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