May 23, 2008

California Marriage Protection Act Gets a Jump at the "Starting Gun"

Hatched by Dafydd

The starting gun was just fired for the November campaign... and in this case, I mean the campaign for the California Marriage Protection Act, a citizen's initiative state constitutional amendment to restore the traditional definition of marriage in California -- now that four judicial activists on the California Supreme Court overpowered three judicial conservatives to force same-sex marriage on America's largest state.

By "starting gun," I mean the Los Angeles Dog Trainer Times has comissioned the first set of polls since the court's decision -- and in a twist that evidently bothered the Times enough that they tried to cover it up by circumlocution, it turns out that Californians begin with a wide and deep antipathy to changing the definition of marriage. All three major party registrations -- Republican, Independent, and Democratic -- support the constitutional amendment, as do men (narrowly) and women (very strongly), as well as (I surmise from the silence) all age demographics; if some age group opposed it, I believe the Times would not be reticent about mentioning the fact.

These poll numbers are spectacularly good for an opening bid! (Hat tip to Patterico.)

And the Times cannot even blame it on "homophobia," an accusation that has become the first refuge of scoundrels in this debate, because by wide margins, respondents have no problem with gays or homosexuality itself.

Let's jump right to the numbers from the L.A. Times poll:

Either way, the poll suggests the outcome of the proposed amendment is far from certain. Overall, it was leading 54% to 35% among registered voters. But because ballot measures on controversial topics often lose support during the course of a campaign, strategists typically want to start out well above the 50% support level.

As Patterico points out on the post linked above, that is a 19-point margin of victory before the first salvo from the pro-amendment camp is fired. But he also notes (with wry amusement, I would imagine) that the Times tries to bury this lede under a flood of generally pro-gay sentiment. Here are the opening two grafs of the article; there are three more "great news for gays!" paragraphs before the Times finally gets around to reporting the actual numbers (so much for the traditional "inverted pyramid" structure that is supposed to characterize news stories):

By bare majorities, Californians reject the state Supreme Court's decision to allow same-sex marriages and back a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at the November ballot that would outlaw such unions, a Los Angeles Times/KTLA Poll has found.

But the survey also suggested that the state is moving closer to accepting nontraditional marriages, which could create openings for supporters of same-sex marriage as the campaign unfolds.

A reader may imagine that the Times is onto something when they say that "because ballot measures on controversial topics often lose support during the course of a campaign, strategists typically want to start out well above the 50% support level." But it's just more disingenuousness on the part of our wretched monopoly newspaper.

In fact, on this particular ballot issue last time, support for the identically worded Proposition 22 actually rose from its initial support to its final victory in June, 2000. Here is a fairly liberal blogger (Calitics) who is a strong supporter of legalizing same-sex marriage:

We all know that initiatives need to be well ahead to start before the advertising ramps up and the No side chips away at the lead. This poll would traditionally signal an initiative in the danger zone. However, the initial polls for Prop. 22 in 2000 were at 58%, and it rose to 61% by election day. Opinions may be fairly hardened on this one.

Support for the amendment is fairly consistent in all demographic groups; Republicans, Independents, and Democrats all support it:

Generally, the poll found consistency between views on the court decision and the proposed amendment. Overall, Californians opposed the court's view by a 52%-41% gap....

Yet support for the ruling did not necessarily lead to opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment, and vice versa. Democrats and independents narrowly backed the amendment despite their support for the court action. Democratic men favored the ruling but were split on the amendment. Democratic women, meanwhile, approved of both the court decision and the amendment.

Also, according to the few internals the Times released (as a graphic!), while men are almost evenly split on how they would vote in the amendment (43% for, 41% against), women -- generally more liberal than men on other issues -- are resoundingly in favor by 58 to 31, a whopping gender gap of 25%, with women being much more supportive of the amendment.

Note: Due to a bit of confusion, let me explain why I say 25%, rather than 27%. By "gender gap," I mean the gap between what the men say vs. what the women say.

The men support the amendment by 2%; the women support it by 27%. Thus, the gap between the genders is 27 - 2 = 25%. Comprendez-vous


But the strong, across-the-board support for the amendment cannot be attributed to bigotry or homophobia. In fact, a solid majority of Californians agrees with me (which means they are correct, for a change): There is nothing immoral about same-sex relationships, and there should be no legal stumbling blocks preventing two (or more) adult men or women -- or mixed groups -- from living together and doing whatever they want to do behind closed doors. That is a simple question of individual liberty.

More than half of Californians [54 to 39] said gay relationships [not marriage] were not morally wrong, that they would not degrade heterosexual marriages and that all that mattered was that a relationship be loving and committed, regardless of gender.

Overall, the proportion of Californians who back either gay marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples has remained fairly constant over the years. But the generational schism is pronounced. Those under 45 were less likely to favor a constitutional amendment than their elders and were more supportive of the court's decision to overturn the state's current ban on gay marriage. They also disagreed more strongly than their elders with the notion that gay relationships threatened traditional marriage.

Oh, yeah, and by the way, they strongly reject the court's decision and resoundingly support the amendment to restrict marriage to the traditional definition. But that's a side issue -- we're talking "generational schism" here!

Interestingly, however, a significantly greater number of registered voters younger than 35 think that same-sex relationships are "morally wrong" than those over 35: 48% of 18-34s think such relationships are "morally wrong," compared to 27% of 35-44s, 37% of 45-64s, and 44% of respondents aged 65+. A greater percentage of young people think gay relationships are "morally wrong" than of senior citizens!

But the fact that a strong majority does not see gay relationships as "morally wrong" does not mean we should change the traditional definition of marriage, upon which our civilization is founded. We have seen what happened in Europe when marriage was steadily eroded as a special institution -- not only in Belgium and the Netherlands, where same-sex marriage was allowed (even encouraged), but in other European countries that abandoned religious-based marriage: Marriage itself was devalued, the marriage rate dropped, and more worrisome, so did the fertility rate among native-born Europeans. (See Mark Steyn's book America Alone: the End of the World As We Know It for why a diminishing fertility rate throughout Western Civilization, other than the United States, is a terrible problem.)

For example, in the Netherlands, according to CBS, from 1995 to about 2000, the marriage rate was struggling back from a previous sharp drop. But when the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage began in 2000, culminating with full legalization nationwide in mid-2001, the rising tide of marriage did a U-turn -- and by 2005, it had plummeted to the lowest level since World War II, when couples in war-ravaged Holland postponed marriage "for the duration."

Another CBS table shows that the marriage rate (marriages per 1,000 Netherlanders) had remained fairly steady, averaging 5.5 from 1995 to 2000; but in 2001, it began a precipitous decline down to 4.4 by 2006, a drop of 20%.

During that period, the fertility rate (children born per woman per lifetime) rose significantly, from 1.53 to 1.73, an increase of 13%... but the entirety of that rise was due to presumably Moslem immigrant women born in Morocco and Turkey. The fertility rate among women born in the Netherlands stayed absolutely stagnant at 1.7 from 2000 to 2005 -- well below the bare replacement rate of 2.1.

Obviously, not all of this drop in marriage and fertility rates among cultural Europeans can be attributed to same-sex marriage; the marriage rate also dropped precipitously in France, which did not legalize same-sex marriage.

But all the factors cited for the drop in marriage across Europe --

  • Easy, no-fault divorce laws
  • Increasing rejection of religious marriage in favor of civil marriage
  • Increasing acceptance of shacking up and out-of-wedlock births as normal
  • More leftist and socialist governments that are hostile to traditional religion and values
  • And a general rejection of religion by the populations in Europe

-- fit very well into the same disastrous social attitude: Europeans have lost their belief that there is anything special about traditional moral values, including traditional marriage. Expanding marriage to include same-sex couples is just one more example of that, albeit an important one.

So far, we have not seen a similar precipitous decline in the marriage rate or the fertility rate in the United States; and if this Times poll is an indicator -- conducted, as it is, in one of the most liberal states in the nation -- we're also not likely to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States anytime soon.

If this trend holds and the amendment passes, as I believe it shall, we will still be back to the same paradigm we have always had: It's never the people but always the "experts" -- especially our robed masters -- who push radical ideas like legalizing same-sex marriage.

When the people actually get to vote, as in California, they invariably reject same-sex marriage and support traditional marriage, even as they accept same-sex unions short of marriage.

But what about Massachusetts, arguably the most liberal state in the Union? If those who favor same-sex marriage truly believed they could ratify their court-imposed regime with a vote of the people, wouldn't they jump at the chance? Yet the opposite has happened: Democrats in Massachusetts have hysterically opposed any actual vote there.

The simplest explanation is the most likely one: I suspect they have their own internal polling, and they already know who would win.


Our previous (recent) posts on this subject have been:

  • Californichusetts, originally posted in March but bumped up to May 15th, 2008, after the court announced its decision; this post lays out the many arguments against same-sex marriage and explains why it is so bad and dangerous -- not just for America, but for Western Civilization itself.
  • Marriage, Money, and Ursus Maritimus, posted May 21st, 2008; this post attacks the appalling way that same-sex marriage was thrust upon the people of my home state of California, against their democratically expressed will, by a breathtaking act of judicial activism.
  • Patterico and Gay Soldiers: Strict vs. Rational - Liberty vs. Privilege, posted May 22nd, 2008; this post argues a different aspect of the debate -- I voice stalwart opposition to laws criminalizing "sodomy," on grounds that they violate basic human liberty, but distinguish between that liberty and support for traditional marriage.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 23, 2008, at the time of 6:24 PM

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» 同性結婚は文明社会を破壊する、その2 from In the Strawberry Field
以前に私は同性結婚は文明社会を破壊するというエントリーで、同性結婚を合法にしたスカンジナビア諸国で、結婚制度そのものが崩壊状態にあるという事実を紹介したことがあるが、今回はさらにもっと詳しい調査をミスター苺がしてくれたので、それを紹介しよう。 ヨーロッパ諸国ではすでに結婚する人々の数が激減している。同性結婚が合法であるベルギーやオランダだけでなく、結婚の宗教的価値を往々に見放してきているヨーロッパ全体にこの傾向が強い。結婚の価値が見下されれば結婚そのものの数が減るというわけである。結婚する人の数が減... [Read More]

Tracked on May 25, 2008 9:33 PM


The following hissed in response by: Rovin

More than half of Californians [54 to 39] said gay relationships [not marriage] were not morally wrong, that they would not degrade heterosexual marriages and that all that mattered was that a relationship be loving and committed, regardless of gender.


In your argument, it may be a bit weak in not recognizing (substantially) that nearly 40% of those polled do believe that gay relationships are morally wrong. It was "interesting", your specific "guide" referring to "generational schism" pointing out the fact that (according to the poll) 48% of 18 to 34 year olds felt that these relationships were also morally wrong. My point here is that there is still a strong base of Californians that reject gay relationships based on morality alone, before deluding that many accept the fact that they recognize these relationships to be "loving and committed". I believe there is a strong majority that do not question that gay relationships are based on love and commitment, but still understand it to be morally wrong. The premise that love and commitment should be weighed when questioning the morality of this issue has a limited foundation, and may in fact be baseless.

What I find missing in the poll that would be useful, is the percentage of liberal vs. conservative thought on the issue. Mark Morford's article in the SF Chron in 2006 that alluded to Conservatives outbreeding Liberals by 20% to 40% may very well be accelerating in California and Mass. by advocating this lifestyle.

The above hissed in response by: Rovin [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 25, 2008 8:05 AM

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