December 23rd, 2008
04:00 PM ET
9 months ago

Post-Prop 8, public opinion on same-sex marriage unchanged

Public opinion on California's controversial Proposition 8 remains unchanged.
Public opinion on California's controversial Proposition 8 remains unchanged.

(CNN) - How have the aftershocks of California’s Proposition 8 - the legal challenges to the states same-sex marriage ban, the protests and boycotts, the controversy that greeted President-elect Obama’s decision to invite evangelical minister Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration –- affected national public opinion on the issue?

Not at all, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday.

In June, 44 percent of those surveyed said that gay marriages should be recognized by law as valid, and a slim majority – 53 percent – said they should not. Six months later, public opinion seems frozen in place, at least for the moment: support for gay marriage remains at 44 percent. So does the opposition –- at 55 percent, it’s statistically unchanged from the summer result, given the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Attitudes also remain unchanged on the question of gays in the military, with strong continuing support for the lifting of the current ban on openly gay service-members. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed say the ban should be lifted, compared with 17 percent who do not. In May of 2007, 79 percent supported lifting the ban, and 18 percent did not.

There has been a bit of movement on one question: a slight up-tick in those who say the government should “do more to support traditional values”: 57 percent of those polled agreed with that statement, to 41 percent who said the government should not favor any particular set of values.

In 2006, 51 percent of those polled said the government should do more to promote traditional values, while 43 percent disagreed with that statement.

The poll of 1,013 adult Americans was conducted by telephone by Opinion Research Corporation on December 19-21, 2008. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: CNN poll • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Bunky Desortis

    Just imagine if all men married men. Chee, there wouldn't be a world anymore, would there?

    December 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Brian San Diego

    Hey Vikki5, If civil unions are equal. YOU accept a civil union for your relationship. You are not better than me. If you get marriage, then so do I. We will NEVER stop until we get full equality. I don't care if you approve of my sexuality. I am not 'slamming' anything on society. I am not looking for your approval. Legally speaking, I deserve the same recognition by the state as you do with regards to civil marriage. WHEN HAS SEPERATE EVER MEANT EQUAL???? People like you make me sick. They support some rights for gays and lesbians, but not ALL. Why do I not deserve all? Whether you think I do or not, I will never stop fighting for them. Honestly, it is really none of your business. You should stay out of something that doesn't concern you. You don't lose any rights by the state extending the right to marry to same-sex couples. Well, you LOSE the 'right' to discriminate against me. TOO BAD. You'll NEVER understand unless you have a child that is gay.

    December 23, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. GET REAL.

    Semantics. Pure and simple. I propose we set a POLITICAL definition of "marriage" (or call it something else... "civil union," anyone?) and a RELIGIOUS definition of "marriage." Then give gay couples POLITICAL equality (benefits, status, etc.), and let everyone duke it out on the RELIGIOUS front. This should be an argument for the churches, not the government.

    Talk about values all you want, but religion has been moving the goal posts every year. Beating your wife, animal sacrifice, divorce, contraception... if anything goes to show you how relative human value systems are, it's this.

    Let people live how they want. In this case, NO ONE'S GETTING HURT. If you think your kids'll get swayed by it, teach them your value systems at home, and hope for the best (once they're old enough, they'll think ofr themselves anyway). If you think that this will lead to people getting married to dogs, relatives, or young children, then understand that completely different political, social, and ethical concerns come into play in each of those scenarios.

    And if it upsets you all that much that someone's challenging a religious value system, than go back to your ex-husbands and ex-wives and tell them "Sorry, God doesn't believe in divorce. We have to stay together, even if it makes our kids mentally ill."

    December 23, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Bill

    Gay marriage should and will be legal. These people speaking out against it are the same types who got out their batons in the 60s because they didn't want black people to have civil rights; the same types who railed against women having rights. Progress is inevitable. Sorry rethugs.

    December 23, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Shannon

    It's so sad that Americans want to deny fellow Americans basic rights. I don't understand why people are so afraid of gay marriage, and who they think it hurts. Dems also voted against it in CA, so it's hard to criticize one side or the other, it seems everyone thinks it's ok to discriminate against gay people, not one of our finer moments.

    December 23, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Angela

    I'm pro-choice, but I can understand the pro-life position. But I really can't fathom why my gay friends can't marry. The issue of gay marriage is parallel to the archaic laws about marriage between two races, but not to laws about incest and polygamy as is sometimes claimed. And if a gay woman has a child, isn't it better for that child to be born into a loving same-sex union than into a sham marriage of convenience??

    December 23, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. VOTED! OBAMA!!! VOTED! OBAMA!! VOTED!

    Prop 8 seems to scare people because of the word "marriage" people like Daniel who are obviously not so secure in his own skin. I'm not gay but why take away rights from a few because you don't agree?

    I propose that we forget about prop-8, and support prop-13. The prop were it makes it illegal to get divorced, since marriage is "so sacred"

    December 23, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. naqib

    Matt

    What tax breaks do married people get that you cannot?

    December 23, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Linda in MS

    To Mark PTD: The reason Prop.8 was shot down in "liberal California"
    was because of the enormous amount of money the opposition had to launch anti- gay marriage media attacks. This anti-gay marriage media blitz was funded by the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons, who define marriage as a union between one man and several underage women.

    December 23, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    Remember separation of church and state? That makes the religious arguments ILLEGAL! This should have never been on the ballot! Who changes the Constitution to take AWAY rights?

    December 23, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. Mike Philly

    Vicki... How about if before you get on your ideological high horse and try to preach down to the rest of us, you educate yourself. Pick up any newspaper or log onto any news web site and research the topics about which you hope to enlighten others. Because you come across like a moron. It is well documented that civil unions do not work and do not give anyone the rights and privileges everyone–gay or straight–deserves. Wise up.

    December 23, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Get your rosaries off of MY ovaries

    Dear Daniel and every other social neo-conservative dingbat:

    I am a grown American woman and I value my freedoms just as much as you do. You are the most INSECURE bunch of morons that I have ever had the misfortune of coming across in my lifetime. Do not FORCE me to abide by your narrow, naive, and ignorant view of this world by limiting and taking away MY freedoms and rights, as I am not trying to take anything away from you. I have absolutely ZERO interest in your personal life..least of all who the unlucky fool was that has to live with your last name. You have the right to do as you so please, so LEAVE ME AND MY FREEDOMS ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am sincerely sorry that your miserable marriage is based on body parts. But mine will not be based on that no matter how hard you fight to oppress me and everyone else.

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS (gasp) are you gone whine about how I didn't say "Xmas"...err...I mean "christmas"???? Grow up, you good for nothing whiners!!!!!!

    December 23, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Richard Rohrmann

    When did 11 points become a slim margin? It's more of a landslide.

    December 23, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. Vicki5

    Boered1: I still don't get why civil unions are not good enough. Are you saying that they can't have ceremonies and that somehow they don't mean the same thing??

    Matt: I was not contradicting myself. And I still ask the same question. Why aren't civil unions good enough? They are the equivalent of marraige when it comes to rights, and that's what you are fighting for, right? Why the need to re-define the term marriage?

    December 23, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. GET REAL.

    Semantics. Pure and simple. I propose we set a POLITICAL definition of "marriage" (or call it something else... "civil union," anyone?) and a RELIGIOUS definition of "marriage." Then give gay couples POLITICAL equality (benefits, status, etc.), and let everyone duke it out on the RELIGIOUS front. This should be an argument for the churches, not the government.

    Talk about values all you want, but religion has been moving the goal posts every year. Beating your wife, animal sacrifice, divorce, contraception... if anything goes to show you how relative human value systems are, it's this.

    Let people live how they want. In this case, NO ONE'S GETTING HURT. If you think your kids'll get swayed by it, teach them your value systems at home, and hope for the best (once they're old enough, they'll think for themselves anyway). If you think that this will lead to people getting married to dogs, relatives, or young children, then understand that completely different political, social, and ethical concerns come into play in each of those scenarios.

    And if it upsets you all that much that someone's challenging a religious value system, than go back to your ex-husbands and ex-wives and tell them "Sorry, God doesn't believe in divorce. We have to stay together, even if it makes our kids mentally ill."

    December 23, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Gene

    I can't believe that people are so concerned about what 2 people do behind closed doors together... this should not even be a political issue... gay people should have the same rights as everyone else. They're not hurting anyone by being married. Let them have the same rights to misery as the rest of us ;)

    December 23, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. Texas Teacher

    Look... I really don't think this is such a big deal.... we have always disagreed on most things in this country. The problem is when someone else tries to legislate their morality!

    Gay Marriage.... does nothing to straight married couples.... unless, of course, they are afraid that it would cause their own partners to bolt and run! *LOL* Sounds like insecurity to me! I realize that were my husband still alive, it would have no effect on our marrige whatsoever! Live and let live.... I think that is what people forget.

    And if you are a Christian, which I am not, you must remember what your Jesus! "Judge not, least ye be judged.".... or something to that effect!

    December 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. nom deplume

    Obama is (technically) going to override Prop. 8.

    He said he opposes gay "marriage" (which was political posturing to get the centrists on board) but has also said he will amend federal law to effectively remove any distinction between marriage and domestic partnership. That way, he gives domestic partners all the same rights and privileges, but avoids using the dreaded 'gay marriage' description.

    Since many states' tax laws follow the feds, they will too, by proxy, adopt gay marriage.

    December 23, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. Keven

    Why is this still an issue. Read the artlicle and see the truth, which is this simple fact: The majority of people don't want gay marriage. This is a country where the majority makes the decision. Imagine if all the people who didn't want Obama to be president whined as much as gays did. Do you think people would actually pay attention to them? Do you think they'd get media coverage? No, they wouldn't. So, let's drop the gay issue.
    Gays, if you want more votes, go out and make your own kids and have them vote for you. Oh, wait.....

    December 23, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  20. VOTED! OBAMA!!! VOTED! OBAMA!! VOTED!

    Vicki 5. You don't have a clue before you post a comment try educating yourself about civil unions. Civil unions is like having Gary Coleman marry you in Mexico.

    December 23, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. Tradition

    Traditional moral family values of our founding-fathers.

    December 23, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  22. wanda

    ATTENTION PEOPLE:

    WE ARE ALL SINNERS IN GOD'S EYES AND WILL BE JUDGED ONLY BY HIM BUT I'M SURE YOU ALL KNOW BY NOW THAT GOD SAID MARRIAGE BELONGS TO A MAN & A WOMAN SO TO ALL THE GAY AND LESBEIN LOVERS WHO ARE MAD @ PRESIDENT OBAMA JUST WAIT HE'S FOR YALL TOO, BUT DON'T TRY AND TELL HIM WHO HE WANTS TO SAY THE PRAYER @ THE HISTORIC EVENT. HE'S ONLY DOING RIGHT BY ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!

    December 23, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  23. EW

    Marriage is NOT a civil Right. It is a religous institution.

    Please, Democrats, quit inventing Rights. If you want civil unions, fine but marriage belongs to the church, not the state.

    December 23, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. Vicki5

    Voted Obama: I voted Obama too, and I believe just as he does. Equal rights does not mean you have to re-define marriage. If you would read my post, I was asking the "know it all's" like you what the difference is. So, why don't you try having an intelligent conversation instead of just calling names.

    December 23, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  25. Mike Philly

    Keven, nothing gets you more credibility than taking a jab at a minority group. Of course, just about everything else you said is nonsensical anyway. You state: "Read the artlicle [sic] and see the truth, which is this simple fact: The majority of people don't want gay marriage." Do you really think it's that "simple?" If so, you are one of the least intelligent people who has posted on this article. And that's pretty sad, dude.

    December 23, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
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