December 23rd, 2008
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. sandee in Portland

    Since the gays would have their equal rights under a civil union, why aren't they satisfied with that? I am so tired of each section of our population calling out "foul" for everything under the sun. In my opinion this is what's wrong with our country; it's not about what's right for our country, but what's right for each person. Everyone wants something....greed, greed, greed. If a civil union gives you the rights you say you want, then why not take that and run with it? I have several lesbian friends who would be more than satisfied with the civil union...even the gays and lesbians can't agree with what they want.

    December 23, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Vicki5

    I think I've found the bottom line: Gay marriage is different than traditional, so why not have a different name, like civil unions. Then all you have to fight for is same rights as marriage. I have a feeling you won't have to fight that hard, because it is not a contradiction to say no to re-defining marriage and yes to equal rights.

    December 23, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. Nick

    Rev Bon,
    As a black man you should be very atuned to an issue such as this. Just because you are black doesn't mean you own discrimination or make your experience of discrimination any more real than what a gay person feels. I am not gay myself, but I would never judge what another person does with another loving person so long as it doesn't harm others and they aren't harming anyone.

    The real problem is that most people, and I'm pretty sure you are one of them, believe that being gay is a choice. The only way that we will get past this is to somehow prove that being gay is something you're born with which is very difficult. But even then it may not be enough with the aversion to science by religions.

    December 23, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. Bob

    I keep reading the two main themes above, those for and those against. But one thing really strikes me. Since when did the right to marry, the privelage of having health insurance, the right to property rights become a constitutional issue. Health insurance is something you have earned and is not found in the constitution. Gays/Straights have no constitutional right to marriage or insurance or any of the other arguments. Stop abusing the constitution over this issue.

    December 23, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Gay Marriage

    Hey Gordon, come on, do I have to tell everyone about you and me?? I seem to remember you weren't anti gay in bed. Do I have to take you on Jerry Springer to expose you????

    December 23, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. What a shame

    Gays have a good life in America stop pushing to change the morals we want for our children. What about the children? Everyone is so worried about the gays do you stop to think about our children.

    December 23, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. What a shame

    It seems if you object to gay marage it's real hard to have an opinion posted on this blog.

    December 23, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  8. DP

    To Ran…Abortion rights and Gay rights cannot be compared. Marriage is a religious union between two couples. I do support same sex partnerships and the legal rights that go with them. If the majority of the people say they do not want to grant marriage to gay's then I will stick with it the same as I will stick by who the people elect for president. Abortion, on the other hand, is the killing of a living organism. I bet you are the same person who opposes the slaughter of animals for food. Here is an argument. Why is the sucking of a living embryo out of someone not considered detroying a life form? At least with a cow, we use it to feed ourselves and survive. You hide behind science when it comes to global warming. Well, I am going to hide behind science that says an embryo is a living organism.

    December 23, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  9. Terri

    What makes me sad is that marriage is a touchstone for such heated debate-people act as if it's taking something away when it's not. So it's ok for someone to be "married" for 54 hours or 8 times, but not if they're gay? I mean, come on. As the mainstream, it must be nice to make the moral judgements on other people's relationships instead of practicing what you really are taught in the Bible-mostly that you should be KIND to your fellow man, and let God do the judging. And here people will donate tons of money, time and effort to defeating gays being allowed to marry, when we have poverty, an economic crisis, a war, homelessness, child abuse, domestic abuse, cancer, hunger, and a litany of other real issues that don't warrant the same media coverage or outrage from people. That's where the church should be focused...and again, if you get a marriage license in order for it to be considered legal (you have to do that even if you get married in a Church) it is somethin that should be granted to all consenting adults regardless of orientation.

    Oh and everyone's like "Why aren't civil unions good enough", ok, then make it that way for everyone. If you don't want other people to be married so badly, why do you belittle the fact that they do? Seriously its unnerving and also-there were laws in many other civilizations and countries that matched the Ten Commandments (even in BC) so yeah, killing and stealing has pretty much always been against the law, so I don't know where you're going with that argument.

    December 23, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  10. ch

    Support for gay marriage has increased significantly over the past 10 years.

    Same with the Gays in the Military issue. In 1993 when Bill Clinton tried to lift the ban against gays in the military, only about 52% of the population agreed.

    Gays are increasingly accepted as part of the fabric of our society.

    And that's a good thing.

    December 23, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  11. Irritated in Fl

    Oh here we go...those making statements such as "i have gay friends", its the same as saying you have black friends and claiming not to be prejudice. I had a straight fellah tell me once, blacks can't change the color of their skin but gays can change who they hold hands with. So I asked him..."you like girls right?, he says ..yep. I say, so you could conciously make a decision NOT to like girls and you could just decide to like boys right..he's like HELL NO" I said exactly. Being gay is not a CHOICE. I remember when I was as young as 5, liking girls. It was as natural to me as being heterosexual is to straight people. I tried to be "normal". I dated guys, slept with guys, married a guy. It just wasn't "normal" to me. I tried suicide, drugs, alcohol, just anything to make me feel better because everyone was telling me how "wrong" I was to like girls. Well, finally God got a message thru to me and let me know it was Okay to love who I wanted to and I said to heck with it and loved who I wanted to. Now, I'm in a long term relationship and happy with it. But, it was a journey getting here. After an 8 yr relationship with a woman, she decided to take my truck and everything I owned. She took mine, left me her piece of junk and took off. Well then, she wanted it back and for me to have nothing so she had me arrested for grand theft auto. During my trial, a witness stood up and said " if this were heterosexuals we wouldn't even be here!" "it's only because marriage isn't legal between 2 women that you can use felony laws to treat their civil situation like a crime!" took the jury bout 10 mins to vote a foreman and get the "Not guilty" verdict to the judge. But, if it had been a bunch of bigots, I could have been in prision 15 yrs for driving my own vehicle that I PAID for. How's that for equality? It's BS. Time to quit discriminating against people for being what God made them.

    December 23, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  12. GuyinIowa

    heres my take... if religion is the reason for denying marriage as it's defined..then any marriage that was not done by religious leaders is now null and void. This pertains to half of my family.

    December 23, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  13. Linda in MS

    Marriage is not a sacred institution. It is a social contract that was instituted to protect property through heirship. Early marriages had nothing to do with love, were arranged, often between people who had never met before the marriage. It is still a social contract, and as such, all members of our society, should under our laws, have the same rights. Ironically, many members of the moral majority in public office have been caught doing the very thing they are condemning so loudly. Sadly, they didn't have the guts or integrity to admit the truth to themselves or to others. Also, if you think homosexuality is unnatural, you obviously know little about animals.

    December 23, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  14. Slash

    It's adorable when people claim that heterosexual marriage is the only "traditional" marriage. The first recorded gay marriage predates Christianity and went on for centuries before Christians started executing gays. Don't spout off your uneducated ignorance regarding tradition, because you only expose yourselves as the fools you are.

    Don't spout off your misinformed "voters' will" garbage, either. The will of the founding fathers (who have somehow become near-deified in modern America) was for blacks to be considered three-fifths of a person. We changed it because we came to realize that it was stupid. It does not matter what voter opinion is. Public opinion was once strongly against blacks marrying whites and women voting. Equality transcends the proportion of prejudiced fools who scream about how evil and threatening something that doesn't involve them is. It's about unalienable rights, not government "permission".

    Black students needed military escorts when let in to public schools. If the National Guard has to be there for the first gay marriages in Hickville and Howdy-Doody-City, so be it. Fact is, change is coming, and your children and grandchildren will look upon you close-minded bigots the same way we look on our pro-segregation ancestors-as heartless monsters.

    December 23, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  15. Jeff

    my neighbors Bill and LInda, just told me they were going to end their marriage when gay marriage becomes legal. GIVE ME A BREAK! What a joke. Just let us live like we desire. We wont change anyone elses marriage status - we promise!

    December 23, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  16. karl

    To people who point to the bible:

    you know that stuff was made up, right?

    None of it's real... I can understand if this was the 1700s or something but we have.... science now.

    Anything arguments you had that existed before the state constitution existed are pointless.... so this whole 'since the beginning of time' or 'in the bible' man and woman argument is silly.

    December 23, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  17. GuyinIowa

    @REV. BON

    Your comments make me sick. To even suggest that gay people are into animals justifies your lack of intelligence and understanding.

    December 23, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  18. Bob

    Let's translate some "Liberalese"
    53% oppose....44% support = "a slim majority"
    53% this summer....55% now = "unchanged"

    On the other hand:
    Obama 52% McCain 47% = "a Landslide"

    Let me throw in a history lesson

    "The economy is much worse than we thought".....Bill Clinton 1993
    Two sentences before proposing a major tax hike...

    "the economy is much worse than we thought"...Joe Biden 12/2008

    December 23, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  19. Kay MA

    Half of you are a bunch of bloody idiots. You say that gay marriage is forbidden by Christianity and Jesus and the Bible and whatever other religious notions you have. Fine- believe that. It's a free country. What I don't understand is why or even how it affects you. You are not being forced to be gay, or be in a relationship with a gay person, it's not going to physically harm you or hurt your marriages- so why would you care? And DON'T say christianity, or jesus, or the bible. Just because gay marriage goes against YOUR religion, why does it have to be against everybody else's? If gay marriage doesn't affect you personally, then why should it be banned because YOU don't believe in it?

    If gays marry, and you don't like it, you can ignore it, no big deal. We all have to ignore things everyday in society that we don't like. But depriving gays of marriage is not fair to them, just because YOU don't believe in it! You're not even involved. Just let them do what they want. Don't penalize them for your beliefs, not everyone shares them. And don't come back and say I'm contradicting myself by saying that not everyone shares the same beliefs- you're right. But I think people who are against gay marriage ignoring it everyday, especially since it doesn't involve them, is fair as opposed to depriving gays of their rights. Balance the scale.

    December 23, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  20. Fritz

    Why are the people who are against "big government" so frequently willing to legislate people's behaviors? Is that not an exercise in big government?
    What would happen if the government legislated that only gay marriages would be recognized and heterosexual marriages would be null and void? How would that make you feel?

    December 24, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  21. soulstar

    what's your point bob? you lost me...

    December 24, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
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