Alex Blaze

Fighting against same-sex marriage just isn't the ticket to popularity it once was

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 22, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: CPAC, economic policy, marriage, national security, poll

It's not surprising that marriage ranked lower than it normally does at this year's CPAC straw poll. It's been banned in the constitutions of a majority of states and there aren't any ballot initiatives on it coming up, while the right has suddenly become concerned with the federal deficit, even though it was exploding during the Bush years (but that didn't matter, because it was being used for war, which means that if you question the money you hate America).

cpac-poll.jpg

By my count, that's "Cut social programs" four ways, "Kill people who make me afraid" three ways, abortion, corruption, immigration, and "traditional values" all before marriage. Kinda what you'd expect at your normal tea party gathering, no?

It's a fun, unscientific poll to look at, the same one that predicted for several years that Mitt Romney would be the Republican nominee in 2008.

Instead, what it does say is that Republicans have had to change their message as a result of the economic downturn. It's hard to tell someone who just lost their job or their health coverage or who can't even find a job in the first place that they should care about two women getting married. It's easier to misdirect their anger towards Social Security and deficits and big government, and a lot more effective when the real goal of the conservative movement has always been to reduce taxes on the wealthy. No need for a wedge issue when you can just lie to people and they'll get mad about the wrong thing!


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I look at the poll results as positive. Most of the attendees at CPAC were under thirty years of age. Their votes told me that they no longer believe that gay marriage will destroy the family, the fabric of society or the country. This is a big deal when you consider all the groups represented at the conference whose sole purpose was and is to stop the gay rights movement dead in its tracks. Unfortunately, the views of this younger generation don't reflect the majority of opinion among conservatives by a long shot.

But another interpretation of these results is that conservative youth are more apathetic about the issue then the fundies in the party.

Remember, this question is not asking whether they approve of it or not, but only asking how much of a priority the issue is to them.

I've seen the same interpretation as you both describe here, Kev and Brad, but it doesn't seem to be enough to me. The youth made up a little under half the people there, and yet only 1% of people there were willing to say marriage was in their top 2. Even if it was 100% non-youth, the highest it could be is 2%.

Plus the CPAC has always been youth-heavy, and marriage was higher in the past. I'm still digging around for previous years' survey results. But I don't think it could drop just based on one-three years' worth of aging/youngening of the population.

I think they may have a different sort of person there, to be sure. But maybe it's part of a larger realignment.

Alex I'm in Iowa now and while it is legal here gay marriage is constantly discussed in the media.The Republicans still use it as a tool to win elections and it looks like if they win here they'll push to put it on the ballot.The good news is that because of how Iowa's political process works it will be at the earliest 2014 before that happens.Another thing to look at is that the governor of Virginia just removed sexual orientation from protection in state jobs.It is now legal for you to be fired or not allowed to be hired because your gay in Virginia.Discrimination is still kicking and I would say it's going to get worse without the enactment of enda and the lifting of dadt.

I thought that for an interesting exercise, I'd see how some of the rank and file respond to this.

This was the first result:

Don't kids yourselves. People still care. There are just so many more issues that are much more important and hit a lot closer to home than whether or not two men or two women can play house legally. I think also the government has committed so many egregious offenses against freedom and the American way of life that we're looking for a complete change in Washington, which would probably help with the "gay marriage" issue, too. We're looking to oust the progressives, every stinking one of them, Democrat or Republican. Since progressives are the gay marriage pushers, it will all work together.

Antonia at first guess I would assume that the person who wrote the piece you quoted would be either far right or tea partiest maybe claiming to be non republican but they are actually heavily supportive of an extreme right republican party.I hope you post who owns that comment here my curioustity is peaked.