All Signs Point to"Yes" for Marriage Equality

gaymarriagJoseAntonioNavas.jpg
Jose Antonio Navas
YES
The gay marriage ruling we've all been waiting for could finally come tomorrow. Until then, you can watch and listen as every politician and political wonk weighs in, mostly favorably, giving the gay community the boost it needs.

Today we heard from Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, who became the third GOP senator to publicly support marriage equality. The Atlantic's Molly Ball projected six favorable resolutions for the case, attributing them to Democratic lawyer David Boies, who represents the petitioners. And finally, new studies are trickling in to suggest that most Americans would welcome marriage for all.

A Pew Research survey published this week revealed that most media outlets skew in favor of gay marriage. Of the nearly 500 stories that Pew analyzed, 47 percent had supportive viewpoints, 9 percent were negative, and 44 were neutral.

Perspectives evened out a little more on Twitter, with 31 percent in favor, 28 percent opposed, and 42 percent neutral, which seems to more accurately reflect public opinion. Latinos have also ramped up their support of gay marriage -- a 2012 survey showed 52 percent in favor, and 34 percent opposed.

While Pew researchers cautioned that marriage equality advocates have courted the press more aggressively than their opponents, these polls are at the very least hopeful.

In addition to the latest polling, we also heard from another group of academics, who debunked rumors of a public backlash if the Supreme Court grants marriage equality. The study's authors, who come from political science departments at UC Irvine, University of Connecticut, UC Riverside, and Princeton, laid out their evidence in a paper called "Testing Backlash: The Influence of Political Institutions on Public Attitudes Toward Gay Rights." To make their case, the authors conducted an online survey in which participants were shown fake news broadcasts about gay marriage legalization, a gay pride parade, and an unrelated issue (gun control policy). After watching the fake pieces, they were asked to rate gays and lesbians on a "feeling thermometer" -- 1 being very cold, 100 being extremely sympathetic. If the gay stories caused a negative shift in opinion, that might validate the backlash theory, the researcher hypothesized.

Yet the study found no evidence of such shifts, which made them conclude that "backlash" is really just a provocation. "For decades, those invoking backlash have told traditionally disadvantaged groups that they should not press their claims," the study's authors Benjamin Bishin, Thomas Hayes, Matthew Incantalupo, and Charles Anthony Smith wrote in a blog post yesterday. They went on to say that while there may be some unknown costs associated with civil rights battles, public opinion isn't one of them.

The authors drew a rousing conclusion: "It is ironic that almost exactly 50 years after Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail -- a response to Alabama clergy who exhorted blacks to wait for the courts to grant them civil rights -- some today suggest the courts themselves should take it slow."

Let's just hope the Supreme Court heard that. For many of us in San Francisco, this battle has seemed unbelievably slow -- and nail-bitingly tense -- in its final days.

We'll be covering the ruling as it comes, so check back with us then.
 




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