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December 4, 2008

Poll: Religion Drove Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Votes

A new poll suggests that religion and economic status played a driving force than race and age in determining whether voters would approve a ban on same-sex marriage in California, Lisa Leff reports for the Associated Press.

The ban drew its strongest support from both evangelical Christians and voters who didn't attend college, according to results released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Age and race, meanwhile, were not as strong factors as assumed. According to the poll, 56 percent of voters over age 55 and 57 percent of nonwhite voters cast a yes ballot for the gay marriage ban.

People who identified themselves as practicing Christians were highly likely to support the constitutional amendment, with 85 percent of evangelical Christians, 66 percent of Protestants and 60 percent of Roman Catholics favoring it.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life provides a graph of how Americans' opposition to same-sex marriage has varied over the years. A 2007 survey showed that 55 percent of Americans opposed same-sex marriage while 36 percent were in favor of it. Evangelicals in California (85 percent) voted for the ban slightly higher than the percent of evangelicals overall who oppose gay marriage (81 percent).


This poll offers the most solid evidence to date that Proposition 8 is an unconstitutional injection of a religious doctrine condemning homosexuality into the California Constitution, in clear violation of the federal constitutional ban on entanglement of government with religion.

The only justification to bar gay and lesbian couples -- whose relationships were fully legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas) when it struck down the nation's last remaining state anti-sodomy laws on Fourteenth Amendment equal-protection grounds -- is a religious doctrine against homosexuality.

As such, Proposition 8 is a thinly-disguised religious approbation that cannot be permitted to stand under the First Amendment separation of church and state -- especially in light of the fact that the Yes on 8 campaign was heavily bankrolled by the Mormons and other conservative churches.

Religious conservatives mistakenly believe that the legal institution of civil marriage -- a creature of the state -- is the same as the religious sacrament of matrimony. It is not. In fact, the former was introduced at the turn of the 19th century in response to the widespread practice of religious institutions refusing to accord the sacrament of matrimony to interfaith couples.

While conservative churches have every right under the First Amendment to refuse to accord the sacrament of matrimony to gay and lesbian couples in accordance with their religious doctrines, they have NO constitutional right to have the their doctrines imposed upon the whole of society through the force of state law -- including those whose religious and/or spiritual beliefs are different -- and deny civil marriage to said couples.

Proposition 8 also violates the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by explicitly singling out gays and lesbians for exclusion from constitutionally-protected rights and privileges enjoyed by everyone else. That flies in the face of a 1996 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Romer v. Evans) that struck down a voter-approved state constitutional amendment in Colorado that overturned state and local laws barring discrimination against gays and barring the legislature and local governments there from passing any new ones.

Combined with the high court's landmark 1967 ruling (Loving v. Virginia) that struck down laws banning interracial marriages, it's clear that Proposition 8 is of doubtful constitutionality under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The question is whether it also violates the First Amendment separation of church and state. I firmly believe that it does.

Quite frankly, I'm getting tired of these supposed polls. I'm white, middle class, married, with children, college educated, evangelical, and I oppose gay marriage because of what God teaches me in His Word.

It has nothing to do with my race, economic status, religion, gender, or preferences...it has to do with GOD'S WORD. PERIOD.

Well, that's because you're stupid and you listen to your imaginary friend.

I have to agree with Deena. I'm white, aged 32, and single and I strongly oppose gay marriage and gay rights on religious grounds. These polls are pretty useless and I think the California polling this cycle verified that. We had the director of the Field Poll telling us months before Election Day that there was little doubt that Prop 8 would be defeated based on historical trends in his polling. We had an uber-liberal state attorney general give the measure extremely unfair wording and the media didn't give it favorable press. It also was on the ballot in an election where the Democrats have won the hugest landslide in California statewide in more than 50 years. Yet . . . Proposition 8 passed with 52.3% of the vote! In CALIFORNIA. Another one of the nation's 4 largest states, Florida, on the same day approved a measure by 62% that bans both gay marriage and civil unions in the constitution of the Sunshine State. And Arizona did so, too. To add to it all, Arkansas voters, against the polls, approved a gay adoption ban by a solid majority.

Yet polls tell us that Americans are becoming more acceptabt of same-sex marriage. Sorry but that just doesn't jive with the ballot box. Voters in 30 of the 50 states have now ratified constitutional amendments banning such marriages. Actions speak louder than polls.

Deena: I'm so glad you have such clarity with regard to G*d's word. Millions of people for thousands of years have searched innumerable texts, translations, history, philosophy and their hearts to find out THE definitive word of G*d.... and you did it! Congrats! I'm curious, is there no "wiggle room", translation confusion or need to weigh which verses are most important to live by? Everything's so clear for you, isn't it... BTW, had a shrimp cocktail lately?

Don't bother with a response that begins with "but..." That would mean that you are INTERPRETING old writings, and it seems like you claim certainty in knowing what it's all about. So confident...just like W, and just about as right. What hubris!

Mr. Sanders, it sounds to me like you're just another person who can't tell the difference between a religious union sanctioned by your church and a civil union sanctioned by our shared government.

Marriage has two meanings, and since you can't tell the difference you insist on your religion dictating my civil liberties.

Because God tells you so? Baloney. That is your interpretation of God's word, or your minister's. You choose to embrace that anti-gay attitude. And you choose to try to make public policy out of it.

You pick and choose what is God's Word to suit your taste, or in this case your bigotry. Most people wield Leviticus to justify their bigotry against gay people. Yet none of them embrace throwing stones at menstruating women who attend church (Lev. 15), or abstain from trimming their hair (Lev. 19) or advocate death to all who work on Sundays (Exodus 35), or encourage parents to sell their daughters into slavery (Exodus 21), or refrain from eating shellfish which are also specifically named an "abomination" (Lev. 11) or wearing cotton blend fabrics, or eating pork, etc. etc. etc.

People like you are phonies who hide behind a small handful of Bible verses, written 2,000 years ago and translated and re-translated, into the context of today which may or may not share anything with the context of the time it was originally written. It's ridiculous.

Face it: you're uncomfortable with gay people, and rather than deal with your discomfort it's much easier to write them off and use the Bible as your excuse. That behavior sickens me.

If you insist on being anti-gay when it has nothing to do with you, at least be a big enough person to come right out and say it instead of hiding behind the Bible thinking that will absolve you from responsibility for your cruelty toward gay people.

Don't use almighty God as your weapon. That's what people like the Taliban do. America is supposed to be better than that.

Kudos to CT and MA too.

As a justice of the peace I look forward to officiating at the marriages of same-sex couples
now too.

Cheers, Joe Mustich, Justice of the Peace
Washington CT 06793 USA

Thankfully we live in a country where we have freedom of, and from religion....too.

Well, Deena, that's the whole point. If it has to do with God's word only, it shouldn't be in the law. Because not everyone's God is the same. (THAT is on the constitution.) While the law should follow some basic ethical principles, it's not the law's job to tell people what moral principles they should follow. That's their own job, the society's job, and the Church's job.

GOD'S Word & 5,000 years of recordrd history...Marriage is One Man One Women
God Bless Every precious Soul.

Deena, what you describe is religious marriage. That's a sacrament within your church. I do not belong to your church. The marriage license you got at your city hall has nothing to do with your church. Do you understand that? The marriage license is a legal thing. Not a church thing. Do you understand that? You and your church can do whatever you want. But you and your church can not, and will not, continue barring me from a legal marriage license at my city hall.

So Deena, quite frankly what I'm getting tired of is people like you using your religious beliefs to restrict my civil liberties. It's wrong. Maybe that's how things work in Iran, but not America.

Your religious beliefs are sacred but they have nothing to do with the loving, committed relationships between gay couples you don't even know. Do you understand that?

Man was not made so that he could poke his friends in the butt and I am tired of all the long-winded legal discussions. It's addictive sexual diviant behavior that has been going on as long as we've had sin. And it needs to go back to being what it was until 2003 which is illegal.

I supported proposition 8 because we are not violating any body's rights. The gay community has the legal rights a married couple does. The only thing they want by impossing gay marriage is to feel less guilty of their conduct, which they know -if they are educated,- is against nature. They chose a lifestyle, fine, they can live as they're pleased, but please don't try to impose it on the rest of society. I'm latino, married, with children, and college graduate. I know what I'm talking about.

Elton John said it perfectly.... " we have civil unions, heterosexuals have marriage..." that is good enough, why should gay people assume the right to redefine and overturn thousands of years of common sense understanding of what marriage is? Do we want a culture so divided that Bible based religious people can no longer send their children to school over an extremely controversial social issue that is not in the least bit an issue of human rights but of an intense and relentless demand by a minority of people to redefine a commonly understood morality eons old, one that historically had benefitted societies that held to it?

Think really carefully. Civil unions are good enough for respectful treatment, inheritance, emergency care etc.

Fighting for the word 'marriage' is really another issue...


We cannot insist the separation of church and state on the issue of marriage because marriage is a religious church act, as simple as that.

Forget not also that the constitution of the United States is a Bible inspired when it was originally written. Speaking of the Bible, the book says in 1 Corinthian 6:9 that "homosexuals" can't enter the kingdom of God.

Besides, only gays and lesbians support same sex marriage. And the would be homosexuals.

To quote Skeeter's post:

Religious conservatives mistakenly believe that the legal institution of civil marriage -- a creature of the state -- is the same as the religious sacrament of matrimony. It is not.

Well, most people 'mistakenly' believe that. If marriage and matrimony truly are two different things, than marriage (the creature of the state) is subject to a democratic vote, and the voters have spoken. Since anti-sodomy laws are now unconstitutional, homosexuals can no longer claim that they are being 'singled out' in a legal way.

Homosexuals have every right to fight democratically for marriage, but they lost. They have every legal right to keep fighting (just as the pro-life movement does). Fortunately, there is still enough of the Christian foundation this country was built upon to turn the popular sentiment to the traditional marriage camp.

Marriage is just for different sex not for the same sex.This the law of Nature.Even In the kingdom of animal follow this law,so,why in the kingdom of Man who has brain to know truth and heart to love break this law. Do not make the Creator of this Universe angry and move all blessing from America to another country and send fire from heaven to America like happen in Sodom and Gomora.

ndividuals who broke the law when protesting supporters of Proposition 8 should very much pay for their shameful crimes. There is no condoning that.

But, the Gay community in general doesn't owe the Mormon Church, or any supporter of Prop. 8, a blanket apology. Supporters of Proposition 8 did considerable mental and emotional violence to the Gay community, friends and families...with unbelievable callousness, self-righteousness, outright slander, great glee and much gloating.

Supporters of Proposition 8 should apologize to the Gay community for so callously trying to erase an established civil right in California. What shameful, hateful conduct. People who contributed money towards that disgusting hate mongering should very much be exposed and boycotted. They are a threat to America's highest ideals.

With America's sordid history, which includes plenty of very horrible violence against Mormons (for which America should apologize), you would think any American would reflexively be the last to endorse the majoritarian tyranny route and try to vote away a minority's right to petition their governments and courts for redress of their grievances.

First marriage, then what? Anti Gay zoning? Official job discrimination (The S.C.GOP party platform did include that. Any other small percentage of the population groups on the religious-right's hate list that could be vulnerable to having some of their established rights voted away?

Living in a "majority minority" state, and with Hispanic relatives, I can guess who's next on the conservative's scapegoating spree.

To quote Nick:

Well, most people 'mistakenly' believe that. If marriage and matrimony truly are two different things, than marriage (the creature of the state) is subject to a democratic vote, and the voters have spoken. Since anti-sodomy laws are now unconstitutional, homosexuals can no longer claim that they are being 'singled out' in a legal way.

You're dead wrong, Nick. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws barring interracial marriage in 1967 (Loving v. Virginia), the court declared that marriage "is one of the most fundamental rights of man" -- a right protected by the Constitution of the United States.

And since the high court has declared time and again over the 230-plus years of our nation's history that the rights guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution are sacrosanct and cannot be subject to the whims of a fickle public at the ballot box (most recently affirmed in Romer v. Evans, 1996), it is every bit as unconstitutional to bar two unrelated single adults who love each other from legally marrying because they are of the same gender as it is to bar them because they are of different races, religions or nationalities.

Since gay and lesbian relationships were fully decriminalized by the Supreme Court in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas, gay and lesbian couples have the same constitutional right to marry that interracial, interfaith or international couples have.

Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution. That will eventually be proven when the federal lawsuit recently filed by Ted Olson and David Boies -- the lawyers who opposed each other in the 2000 Bush v. Gore case -- moves its way up the ladder to the Supreme Court.