Washingto Post: Half of all Americans believe that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll in which a large majority also said businesses should not be able to deny serving gays for religious reasons.It’s important to note that the number of people who say they support marriage equality is higher than the percentage who say the Constitution requires it. If you believe that the right to marry is written into the Constitution, you can still be grudgngly homophobic; i.e., “OK, you win. It’s a constitutional right. But I still don’t have to like it.” That a huge majority supports marriage equality — despite the fact that they don’t all believe it’s a constitutional right — says a lot about the acceptance of the LGBT community at large.
Fifty percent say the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection gives gays the right to marry, while 41 percent say it does not.
Beyond the constitutional questions, a record-high 59 percent say they support same-sex marriage, while 34 percent are opposed, the widest margin tracked in Post-ABC polling.
But the holdouts are Republicans. Greg Sargent notes, “opposition to gay marriage among Republicans seems to be concentrated among the Tea Party. According to the Post polling team, Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who support the Tea Party oppose gay marriage by 54-38. By contrast, non-Tea Party Republicans and GOP-leaners support gay marriage by 57-36. Tea Party Republicans are often said to be more libertarian-leaning on social issues than other segments of the GOP base (such as evangelicals), but a majority of them still opposes same-sex marriage.”
So the ‘baggers are “Libertarian” — only, without all that pesky liberty.
“All of this sheds more light on the question of whether Republicans need to evolve their party to keep in step with diversifying America,” he goes on. “As Ron Brownstein and Dem pollster Stan Greenberg have suggested, Dems may continue to profit politically in national elections from the GOP inability to broaden its appeal to segments of the electorate that include ‘diverse America’ and the portions of white America ‘who are comfortable with diverse America.’ If this is right, then on gay rights, the GOP continues to be captive to a base that shows no signs of wanting to move into that latter category.”
This is really another example of how gerrymandering is making the GOP a regional party. By drawing lines around the people most likely to vote for them, Republicans are basically choosing which people they’ll represent. And that smallminded, bigoted population is becoming narrower and more isolated on issue after issue after issue.
It says a lot about Republican ideals when they have to actually seek out the most hateful and gullible voters in order to maintain a fingerhold on power. When the only motivations to vote fore you are meanness and ignorance, your ideas can’t possibly be any good.
[photo by Elvert Barnes]