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Religious Tolerance logo

Efforts to legalize same-sex marriage (SSM) in Washington State:

2011-OCT: State public opinion poll on SSM.
Reactions by readers of The Seattle Times.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay ....

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2011-OCT-31: State public opinion poll on same-sex marriage:

The Center for Survey Research at the University of Washington released the results of their poll among registered voters on same-sex marriage (SSM). (N = 938; the margin of error is ±3.2 percentage points. They reported:

  • 55% of the voters would uphold SSM if it was approved by the Legislature; 38% would be opposed; 7% were undecided or didn't answer. The margin is 17 percentage points, about double that of recent national polls.

  • 44% of the voters prefer that same-sex couples be allowed to marry; 22% preferred the existing registered partnership; 17% felt that their relationships should not be recognized at all. 1

With such heavy support for SSM, most or all of the Democratic representatives and senators may well vote in favor of the proposed SSM bill. However the margin of 17 percentage points among the public in favor of SSM is probably not nearly sufficient for a significant number of Republican lawmakers to support the bill.

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Reactions by readers of The Seattle Times article:

There were 20 individuals who posted comments to the Seattle Time's article in the 72 hours after the article was published and before the comment thread was cosed. 2 They were unusually well written for a controversy of this type and may well indicate what is on the public's mind:

  • jack'sperson: "Tick tock goes the progress clock. The anti-equality side grows ever smaller. Which side of history will you be on?"

  • scovy: "Marriage is simply between a man and a woman. The only way gay marriage has been allowed in the US is through the courts or bought out senators. Not one has been allowed through the people voting for it."

  • theunderlord: "The last thing we should be worried about in this country is who wants to marry who..."

  • jack'sperson: Re: scovy: "That's not true but we all know the anti-equality side isn't interested in the truth as it does not work in their favor.

  • scovy: Re: jack'sperson: "Show me one state proposition allowing gay marriage that has passed... there is none."

  • mishigloss: Re: scovy: "And so what? Last time I looked, that's the way our tripartite system of government works, right? Right? Funny how the antigay tend to be right-wingers who express reverence for the Constitution in theory, but not in action. Anyway, the WHOLE POINT of the story (to over-explain things for the understanding-impaired) is that people's attitudes have changed, and changed a lot. Future votes will be different, and you will not longer be able to think of yourself as superior because of where you put your ding-a-ling. Soooo sorry, bud."

  • JimPD: "Just part of a national trend going in the same direction at an amazing rate of changing opinion. I frankly hope however that Murray and others hold off a bit to make sure we're on even firmer ground, since anti-gay bigots will absolutely try to over-ride our elected representation with one of their nasty campaigns capitalizing on remaining prejudice and ill will."

  • jack'sperson: Re: scovy: "I didn't say there was one. I took exception to your false statement that same sex marriage has only been brought about by courts or 'bought out senators' which is false.

    And you don't seem to understand what the votes which have been taken were on. To my knowledge, public votes about allowing same sex mariage have only been in California and Maine. The others to which your side loves to refer were votes on adding Constitutional amendments prohibiting same sex marriage. Those amendments will eventually be over turned by the courts as they are all based on animus and animus alone. Animus is not a compelling state interest and does not pass the rational basis test let alone any greater scrutiny.

    It wasn't about same sex marriage, although your side tried to say it was, but the Ref71 vote here was the first victory for our side and will surely not be the last. We are going to win in Minnesota."

  • cornet mustich: "Onward to full civil and marriage equality rights now!"

  • marinevet: "Every law allowing inter-racial marriage was put there either by state legislators or courts. When the Supreme Court made interracial marriage legal country-wide, 83% of the country was against it.

    Also, when judges made gay marriage legal in Massachusetts, anti-gay groups said that the court was improperly 'legislating from the bench' and they stated that the legislatures who represent the people should be making that call.

    When the first state legislature passed gay marriage, the anti-gay crowd was strangely silent. Then when the second state legislature passed marriage equality, the third state legislature passed marriage equality and the fourth state legislature passed marriage equality, anti-gay groups came back with a new idea that all laws on civil rights should be made by popular vote, not courts or elected representatives of the people.

    Maine will probably be the first state to legalize gay marriage next year through a ballot initiative voted on directly by the people.

    I wonder what the anti-gay folks will switch their argument to then?"

  • klgrube: "The only poll that counts is the one at the ballot box. In every state where the voters have allowed to vote on this issue, they have rejected gay 'marriage.' EVERY SINGLE TIME!! The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. It will be the same in Washington. Two more states will be added to this list in 2012, North Carolina and Minnesota. And it looks as though New Hampshire will be repealing their gay "marriage" law soon. Clearly, this is something the voters of this country DO NOT want.

    Hopefully the next step will be to elect a President and Senate that will promote and pass a federal Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Most of the Republican Candidates have either signed the NOM* Marriage pledge or have declared their intent to pursue such an Amendment. There are more than enough states with these laws already to pass this Amendment. Since one of these Republican candidates is likely to be our next President, I feel certain this will happen. In that case, it won't matter what happens in Washington."

    * NOM = National Organization for Marriage. It is the main a conservative group that opposes marriage for loving, committed same-sex couples.

  • Alex-: "An example if sanity is seeing a trend, taking a representative sample to poll, and deciding what to do.

    And if a President decides to take marriage into his hands and away from the states and away from a people's vote, then it won't matter what happens in Washington. It will matter what happens in the Supreme Court."

  • Mishigoss: Re: klgrube: "Yes, I know that for many opponents of SSM, it's reassuring to think that Everything Important Was Settled a couple of thousand of years ago. It's so much easier than critical thinking.

    Inconveniently for you, though, public attitudes on GLBT rights are changing, and changing rapidly. Certainly, there are some demographics standing in the way: the actually-voting electorate tends to be older than the public at large, and the group most opposed to LGBT rights is seniors.

    But - having been around through the progress of the modern gay rights movement - I can assure you that things that seemed inconceivable in my lifetime - gays openly serving in the military, for instance, and civil unions - are fairly noncontroversial realities today. Let me repeat this real slowly, so you get it. T...h...i...n...g...s.......c...h...a...n...g....e.

    I have no understanding of why you think my decade-long relationship is less worthy of legal recognition than some Kardashian farce. But whatever joy you take in denying others happiness is gonna be pretty short-lived. Just ask gay married in Spain and Canada and Mexico City and Belgium and..."

  • jack'sperson: Re: klgrube: "If the first is true why do you need the second? Could it be that you realize, as others do, that the current bans on same sex marriage do not pass Constitutional muster? Or do you seek a Constitutional amendment because you realize public opinion is rapidly going against you and your only hope is to force the will of a minority on the majority?"

  • Hen3ry: "Since when do we allow the majority to decide the civil rights of minorities? If it were so then people of color would still be riding on the back of the bus in a lot of places in this country and women would still not be voting. We make changes like these because they are the right thing to do, not because they are popular."

  • Seattletj: Re: Hen3ry: "This is what those against gay marriage don't understand about our Constitution. One of the purposes of the Judicial Branch is to protect American citizens' right to equality who might be discriminated against based on a popular vote of the people.

    So if gay marriage is up for a vote, how about voting on whether black people can marry white people? How about having a popular vote on whether women should be allowed to vote?

    Hen3ry is right--we don't VOTE on people's civil rights in this country as we are all Americans and deserve equal rights."

  • JimPD: Re: jack'sperson: "Which is a virtual impossibility at this time since Congressional support has long since disappeared -- if it was even there in the first place. A constitutional ammendment makes for good, conservative election campaign dogma - an effective way to market one's anti-gay bigotry to the electorate - but no one seriously considers it a reasonable possibility. It's no more than political code for, 'I'm as bigoted as you'."

  • jim98122x: "Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada nationwide for years. I'm always curious how anti-gay bigots can explain away the fact that the entire moral fabric and civilization of our closest (and most culturally similar) neighbors hasn't entirely imploded? Does it look like it's hurting Canada? I think not." 2

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Full disclosure by the Webmaster:

It is beyond my comprehension why a matter of elementary human rights -- the right to marry the person that one loves and to whom one has made a lifetime commitment -- can be decided by a simple vote of 50% of the voters plus one. When a state allows plebiscites on matters such as this, then nobody's human rights are really safe. After all, everyone is a member of at least one minority group, whether based on gender, race, skin color, religion, religious denomination or tradition, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

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This topic continues in the next essay ....

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References used in this essay:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Andrew Garber, "UW poll finds support for gay marriage law," The Seattle Times, 2011-OCT-31, at:
  2. "Comments: UW poll findssupport for gay marriage law," The Seattle Times, 2011-OCT-31 to NOV-01, at:

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Copyright © 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2011-NOV-15
Latest update: 2011-NOV-17
Author: B.A. Robinson

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