December 23rd, 2008
04:00 PM ET
5 years 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. Yes on Prop 8

    Mike Philly December 23rd, 2008 5:35 pm ET

    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.
    Not using it to slam anyone, but this is my point. There should be NO rights or privilages for MARRIAGE, at ALL. The only privilage there is, is being the spouse of your loved one. Government giving special treatment to married people is asenine.

    So why don't we do this, and I'm serious: Remove ALL special rights and privilages that marriage grants, and then lets see if this is really an issue any more.

    December 23, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. deb in Colo

    1) Marriage is a "religious" definition? Really? Because when you go down to the court house to get a license it says MARRIAGE LICENSE, not CIVIL UNION LICENSE.


    2) @FreeNLovIt – "Same-sex marriage is forbidden in the Bible."
    Chapter and verse please....

    December 23, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Gordon Shumway

    Call it what you want, I think it is queer behavior whether it be in animals or human. I appreciate that the majority still agree.

    December 23, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  4. Lois on the Left Coast

    As long as political and religious "leaders" allow their followers to stay obsessed about the genitalia, reproductive tracts, and other sexual features of their fellow human beings, as long as these private physical parts of our anatomies are considered fair game for the public forum, then this kind of blind, controlling, and hate-filled frenzy will prevail. To those who would tell others what to do in the privacy of their homes, get your noses out of our crotches. To those who can't stop obsessing about womens' reproductive tracts- get a sex life of your own.

    December 23, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Get Real

    Why was it even put on the ballot if it does not really matter? Talk about a waste of time and money. That is why I find Calif. to be the joke of the U.S.

    December 23, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Keven Doesn't Know Dick

    Keven @ 551: I guess your home school doesn't teach civics.
    Google: "Tyranny of the Majority". Read the Wikipedia entry.
    Now, what was that you said about "this is a country where the majority make the decision"

    You rushthuglicans have no idea what Democracy is all about, do you.

    December 23, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Can someone explain how a ban on gay marriage is taking away rights? It was never a right in all of recorded history, so it can't be taken away. Vicki5, I have the same question. Why aren't civil unions that grant the same legal benefits as marriage good enough?

    December 23, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. Keven @ 551

    It's called "Tyranny of the Majority". But I suppose your home school doesn't teach civics, does it?

    December 23, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. Rev. Bon


    I absolutely agree!!....its just a trick to try and force the religious institutions to recognize homosexuality and approve of their lifestyles. First the religious institutions must recognize same-sex marriage. Then what's next; the church will be forced to not speak out on something that they do not approve of. They try to call it a "civil right" to make it look like they are the victims and draw a sympathy vote (which most Americans have fell for). But really they are an overbearing, very powerful community that is trying to FORCE their ideology onto others. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! This is not a "Civil Rights Movement", and as a black man I am HIGHLY offended that you would compare this mess to what took place many years ago. This is just a group of people that is trying to force their alternative lifestyle onto the American public.

    December 23, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. Danny

    I like the idea of Civil Unions for any two people that want to enjoy all the legal benefits there of. 'Marriage' is a term that religious institutions should confer on two people at their discretion. Some churches and other houses of worship will marry two people of the same sex. In addition, many will only marry two people of the opposite sex. Unless one likes the idea of church and state as one; or, perhaps, they are prejudice (even with sincere religious beliefs), there should not be a problem. As a result, certain Americans will not be denied legal protections afforded to the majority of citizens. Ultimately we can not have citizens singled out for unequal rights. That is highly unconstitutional.

    December 23, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  11. Carol

    Prop. 8 was not explained well enough. I looked at Prop 8 as a civil rights issue. I wish the No on 8 side had spent more time explaining that to voters. Explain to people about tax laws, insurance benefits, inheritance laws, etc. People get so hung up on the word marriage and all they think about is wedding ceremonies and stupid things like that. No – it is an equal rights issue.

    It amazes me that there is still a group of people, in this day and age – in the United States, that are discriminated against and denied equal rights. I hope it is overturned

    December 23, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. Rev. Bon


    Of course its not good enough because they want to change the religious institution. Secretly its about changing the ideology of the religious institution. That's why civil unions are not good enough.

    December 23, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. Rev. Bon

    GET know what? Social liberals are constantly contradicting themselves because on the one hand they say, as you say...."Let people live how they want". But then if that were really true then it would be OK for Old Guys to have sex with little girls. Or people have sex with horses and dogs. Or old women to have sex with little boys, or priests to molest little boys. All of these are lifestyles and this is how some people want to live, but why do we not consider these things ok. LET PEOPLE LIVE HOW THEY WANT, RIGHT!? Let's allow people to marry their dogs or horses. Its not hurting anyone, and it make them happy. LET PEOPLE LIVE HOW THEY WANT....DOWN WITH MORALITY, RIGHT!?

    December 23, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. Nothing but a Jeep

    Why Oh why is this still an issue with some people in America? There are worse things to concentrate on. I guess people can have a cause, but, I never understood why some of them just don't have a GOOD cause...Ask yourself, HOW would 2 people who love each other affect YOUR life!!!??? Is it just because you were TAUGHT to hate? The bible is just a shield some people hide behind while THEY do things that are considered worse in their lives. EVERYONE has a closet. What's in yours? STOP THE HATE!

    December 23, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  15. Mari

    @ Daniel Cabrera.......... please stop with the LIES we had enough from the Palin/McCain ticket!

    I am a Democrat, Catholic, wife, mother & grandmother..... 50 plus. Here is the thing that most people who want to allow Gay marriage do not understand, Marriage is a Sacrament. To those of us who are religious and from traditions that are ancient Marriage, we believe was designed by GOD, for a man and a woman.

    For us, Christians, marriage is SACRED. That does not mean, that I hate anyone! I believe that Civil Unions should be allowed, that Gay people should be allowed to adopt children.

    Asking Christian whom have believed that marriage IS sacred to change, simply so that some people can have 'their way' is like asking Jews or Muslims to believe there are many gods! Not possible.

    Why is it that Civil unions are not enough?

    Why not leave Church and State divided, you want to marry, marry in the church. Or IF you want a secular or civil union let a judge marry you. Everyone would be fine with that, since SO many people are unchurched any way!

    Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

    December 23, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. TjayeInLA

    I say if they don't have the full rights that all citizens have, then they should be exempt from being taxed as full citizens. Gay marriage doesn't affect any of us. Trying to stop it is just some people's way of trying to negatively affect those who refuse to live as their lives to appease others.

    It's hatred in the name of Jesus.

    December 23, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. tired of corporate politics

    I think we should ask one of the openly gay members of Obama's cabinet – oh wait..........

    December 23, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  18. tom

    i remember when it was illeagl for a black man and white women to marry also-but thankfully we sane people beat back the crazy right bible thumpers and move forward out of the crazy past into the sane forwardthinking future.

    December 23, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. Steve

    Hate to break it to all of you supporters of gay marriage. It is not discrimination in any way shape or form to forbid same sex marriage. The logic is simple: I, a heterosexual, am not allowed to marry another man, therefore forbidding you, a homosexual, from marrying another man cannot by definition be discrimination. No where in the constitution is there a right to marry whomever you wish. If you look back upon our history, we have had marriages for financial reasons, political reasons, all dictated by familes rather than individuals involved in the marriage. Not fair you say? Perhaps. But discrimination? Not by any legal definition. The judges on the Supreme Court of Cali. who found it to be discrimination were legislating from the bench and had no law to support their decision and should be disbarred.

    December 23, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Let's see, one of the Ten Commandments (#6) is against killing, so I guess due to separation of church and state we need to legalize murder. Also that pesky commandment about stealing (#8) has to go too, so theft and robbery need to be legalized as well.

    20 countries and 5 US states recognize civil unions. It must be working somewhere.

    James in Nebraska, how does polygamy or marrying an underage person hurt you either?

    Linda in MS, so you mean that spending lots of money can influence a vote outcome? Wow, wonder who would be President Elect if Obama had kept his promise to use public financing.

    December 23, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Terri

    Folks, marriage is NOT a religious institution. if it was, you wouldn't need a marriage license from city hall in order to get it. Also-not everyone subscribes to Christianity, so by saying "God is in the mix" leaves out everyone who isn't religious or of the same faith. Marriage was a social contract used to expand land and holdings-what's so romantic about sending you daughter of with a few sheep? It was about financial stability and continuing a blood line. If you want LEGAL marriage rights it is about government NOT religion, so everyone who says its a civil right is correct. I think LOVE is LOVE and we should promoting people being happy and cared about be embracing-isn't that what Christianity is all about? Isn't this the same faith that was persecuted under the Romans? And now you want to use religion to persecute others. The only law handed from Jesus, is the Golden Rule-so this basically goes against that bc this certainly isn't how I want to be treated.

    The margin they're referring to is 53 to 55 (not the points between for and against).

    December 23, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  22. Marc

    Vicki and EW – Marriage is a Civil Right, A Religious Institution as well as a Secular Institution.
    How many states from the good ol' South banned interracial marriages under the premise that it was 'Against God's Laws'? And how did it ended? Oh yeah, the Supreme Court ruled that THEY WERE WRONG on any account possible. So, yes, marry (MARRY not unite in a civilian way) anyone that wants to marry you (and who also has the right – i.e. is not under someone's guard – to do that) is a Civil Right, thanks for the brave fellas of the 50's, 60's and 70's.
    If you try to force your Religious concept of something down the throat of everybody else, aren't you trying to usurp the right of everybody else to have something to think or say about that same matter? Yeah, there is a lot of resistance against gay marriage due to 'Religious values' of a portion of the society, but the funny part is that the most vocal opposition comes from a religious group THAT ENDORSES POLIGAMY (ok not all of them but it is still blatantly happening right now among them) and MARRIAGES WITH UNDERAGES GIRLS.
    There is a separation of Church and State because no one wants that self-proclaimed chosen ones dictates what is right and wrong to think, do or not. Leave it to Iran, Saudi Arabia and other TEOCRACIES.
    I don't know any gay couple not because I choose not to, I simply don't know. Hey, it happens. But since most people that choose not to have any contact with gay people due to a (ridiculous) belief that they are wrong (and according to whom they are -besides them of course, since neither the law or Psychology says that is wrong to be gay), here's my opinion:
    They have their CONSTITUCIONAL right to MARRY as much as anyone has.

    December 23, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. Phoenix

    Daniel, Democrats don't need a brain, remember those who voted for Obama are the educated elite. Those who voted Republican can only misuse words such as socialism in an attempt to sound intelligent. PE Obama has already said that he is not in favor of gay marriages, so what are you talking about. If only those phonics skills would kick in.

    December 23, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. Bob

    And this is a democracy. The majority rules within reason. So let me tell you how bad the legal system is in this country. The state of California spokane and voted down same sex marriage. Now the California supreme court might just overturn the vote. And this is a democracy.

    December 23, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Irritated in Fl

    Let's just keep the gays in slavery. Let's keep denying them the rights that everyone else has and maybe someday they will all flee the Land they call home of the free, the brave and the proud. Let's keep it legal to treat them as less than humans. I mean after all, we HAD to give equal rights to blacks and illegals, lets just keep someone around to discriminate against because we can. I know that many of them are doctors, nurses, soldiers etc, but geez, they just DO NOT DESERVE the right to have a legal union with the one they love. This is AMERICA, we don't give rights to homosexuals here. We choose to live in the 19th century and by gosh we should just put whipping posts on every town square for those evil devils who think they should have the right to love who they want. Who do they think they are? Americans? Citizins? Humans?

    Signed...a disabled woman veteran, a former Police officer, an EMT, a Volunteer firefighter...a LESBIAN.

    December 23, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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