Majority of Americans Support Gay Marriage (Video)
A new group is pushing for marriage equality to be ‘reframed’ towards promoting the value of commitment.
Based on extensive research by the centrist Democrat group Third Way, it says that:
“National polls now indicate that a majority of Americans support allowing gay couples to marry. Our country has undergone an unprecedented shift on the issue, with support doubling in just 15 years. But these gains are not yet locked in—a sizable chunk of the support is still susceptible to the arguments of marriage opponents. “
“One in four Americans would grudgingly accept it, and four in ten put themselves in the gray zone—not completely for it, not decidedly against it. Can we move 4s, 5s, and 6s to 8s, 9s, and 10s? Can we change people from grudging approval to gladly accepting? We are certain the answer is yes,” says the group.
Their research found that, when asked why “couples like you” might want to marry, 58% of those surveyed said to “publicly acknowledge their love and commitment to each other.” When asked why gays and lesbians may want to marry, the respondents split between “love and commitment” and “rights and benefits.”
The group provides six lessons for talking to the middle about marriage, based on qualitative and quantitative public opinion research.
- Support is growing but not solidified.
- For the middle, marriage=commitment.
- The middle isn’t yet clear on why gay couples want to marry.
- The middle needs to hear a message of commitment, not rights.
- The middle is looking for permission to change their minds about why gay couples marry.
- Religion is a hurdle, not a wall.
“In order to reassure [groups in the middle who were more concerned about religion],” the report says, “and allow them to resolve their conflicting feelings in favor of marriage, it is crucial to include reaffirmation of religious liberty protections as a significant part of supporters’ message framework.”
“The success in passing marriage legislation in New York State serves as one recent example of the importance of including a strong reaffirmation of existing First Amendment protections of religious freedom, to reassure lawmakers and voters that religious leaders and churches will be protected. And when those protections are explicitly incorporated into marriage advocates’ messages, support for marriage spikes. A 2008 study by Public Religion Research showed support jumping 14 points in a single poll with the inclusion of a religious liberty assurance.”
Charles Moran, chairman of the California Log Cabin Republicans, told USA Today that there has been a “fundamental flaw” in the way that the lesbian, gay and transgender community has framed the issue in the past and has led to 31 straight defeats in ballot initiatives across the country.
“This is a real radical way of changing the approach in communicating why gay marriage equality is important,” he said.
Said O’Malley, who is pushing his state’s legislature to pass marriage in 2012:
“Americans of all walks of life want their children to live in a loving, stable, committed home—protected under the law. By focusing on these values, the Commitment Campaign will help broaden support for marriage across the country and help states like Maryland pass marriage legislation in the near term.”
The new campaign comes as Human Rights Campaign launches an Internet ad campaign using African-American leaders such as former NAACP leader Julian Bond, Mo’Nique, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. African Americans voted overwhelmingly against a 2008 California ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage.
Watch Julian Bond for Americans for Marriage Equality: