Poll: Don’t Leave Same-Sex Marriage To The States

As the public attitudes on same-sex marriage continue to evolve, many Republicans seems to be moving toward a position that states that whether or not gays and lesbians should be allowed to matter is a matter that should be left to individual states to survive, rather than the Federal Courts. Under this kind of approach, it’s conceivable that bans against same-sex marriage in deeply red states could stay in place for many years to come until public opinion in states like Alabama and Mississippi changed sufficiently to permit those  bans to be overturned. Indeed, even here in Virginia, which is essentially a “Purple” state at this point, it would require a herculian effort to repeal the Constitutional Amendment that the Commonwealth’s voters unfortunately passed in 2006.

Quite obviously, this “leave marriage to the states” idea is little more than a rear guard action that opponents of marriage equality are fighting given that they can see as well as everyone else that they are losing on this issue. Not surprisingly, the public doesn’t seem all that thrilled with a strategy that doesn’t seem to be designed to do any more than delay the inevitable:

A new poll puts support for same-sex marriage at 50 percent, with even more Americans saying the issue ought to be decided based on the federal Constitution — not state laws.

Fifty-percent of American voters support same-sex marriage, while 41 percent oppose it and the remaining 9 percent are unsure or did not answer, according to a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey released on Thursday. It’s the first time support has reached the 50 percent threshold for Quinnipiac.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of voters say the Constitution and not state laws should determine the legality of same-sex marriage, putting the public at odds with some lawmakers who say it should be left up to the states to decide gay marriage.

Support for same-sex marriage increased by 3 percentage points compared with a March 8 Quinnipiac survey when support was at 47 percent. And it’s a staggering change in public opinion from 2008 — when a Quinnipiac poll found that Americans opposed same-sex marriage 55 percent to 36 percent.

You see, rights are not subject to majority rule, and they shouldn’t depend on where you live.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ben says:

    the public doesn’t seem all that thrilled with a strategy that doesn’t seem to be designed to do any more than delay the inevitable

    Do you think it’s inevitable that Alabama, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Texas and Arkansas would eventually amend their constitutions to allow gay marriage? I don’t. I think that it’s quite likely that those states would NEVER come around to granting marriage equality. Christ, look at the polls for how many in the south still think interracial marriage should be illegal. If the confederacy isn’t forced to accept marriage equality by the Federal Courts, they’re sure as hell not going to do it on their own.

  2. @Ben:

    I think that it’s quite likely that those states would NEVER come around to granting marriage equality.

    Short answer, no.

    But then again, not sure that Alabama granting marriage equality is what’s inevitable. It’s that recognition of same-sex marriage in other states is inevitable. Alabama may prefer to be the outlier for (in my view) dubious reasons, but for practical reasons they’ll have to get over it and get with the program. Eventually.

    They’ve gone through this process before Shouldn’t be too difficult.

  3. Ben says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    Short answer, no.

    But then again, not sure that Alabama granting marriage equality is what’s inevitable. It’s that recognition of same-sex marriage in other states is inevitable. Alabama may prefer to be the outlier for (in my view) dubious reasons, but for practical reasons they’ll have to get over it and get with the program. Eventually.

    They’ve gone through this process before Shouldn’t be too difficult.

    I think you’re wrong there. I don’t think Alabama will ever decide on their own to recognize other’s states same-sex marriages, regardless of the practicality. The only reason they’ve ever “gotten with the program” before was because the federal government forced them to. And that’s why it can’t be left to the states.

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    What’s funny about these sort of blog posts and the underlying polls to which they cite, in addition to the obvious agendas on all fronts, is the extent to which members of the left-wing, like weather vanes, flip and flop between wanting federal dominion or state dominion, depending entirely upon their own wishes and pet peeves.

    Ask a lefty if individual states should be allowed to place restrictions on abortion and they’ll instantly foam at the mouth and scream hell, no, that’s a federal issue and any such restrictions are illegal. Then ask them about minor restrictions, such as parental notice requirements for minors? Nope, can’t have that either. What about simply restricting the use of public money? After all why should we infringe on 1st Amendment religious rights to protect the “penumbra”-based privacy right to scape out fetuses? Nope, can’t have that either. It’s a federal issue, dont’cha know? But then ask the same lefty whether the Feds should have national anti-drug laws that trump state medical marijuana laws and they’ll say, hell, no, that’s not a federal issue; states should be free to legalize drugs if they see fit.

    Ask a lefty if individual states should have the ability to enact strict gun control regulations and almost in lock step they’ll say hell, yeah, despite the 2nd amendment. But since 40 or so states have laws banning same-sex marriages, including over 30 by direct state constitutional voter referendums, largely supported ironically enough by racial minorities, and the same lefty will say hell, no, we need that one to be a federal issue; in their favor, of course.

  5. wr says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Wait — you mean that some liberals believe that there are certain things that should be regulated by the Federal government, and other things by the states? And they’re not necessarily the same things that you think should be?

    Oh, my God!!!! The hypocrisy!!!! The layers of irony!!! The neon elephants!!! Jeeves, get my fainting couch!

  6. @Ben:

    The only reason they’ve ever “gotten with the program” before was because the federal government forced them to.

    Agreed, but “the federal government forced them to” is the ultimate practical reason.

  7. Tyrell says:

    The people around here voted by a huge margin a few years ago in favor of a state constitutional amendment that prohibits gay marriage. Things aren’t going to change around here anytime soon.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    The people around here voted by a huge margin a few years ago in favor of a state constitutional amendment that prohibits gay marriage.

    Depending on where you are, people there probably overwhelmingly supported anti-miscegenation laws at one time…such laws were eventually swept away, just like the constitutional amendments against SSM will be swept away…