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Fear Mongering about gay marriage in Massachusetts

May 26, 2009

So, I was reading an article by some writer at RealClearPolitics (and I dunno…maybe I should’ve seen it coming, but I don’t read RCP a lot) about Massachusetts Gay Marriage: FIVE YEARS LATER (dunh dunh dunnhhhh…).

OK, so maybe I added the ominous capitalization…but still…the writer, Maggie Gallagher, says something curious relatively early on:

I have argued that over time gay marriage will weaken support for the idea that marriage really matters because children need a mom and dad.

Now…warning sirens are going off in my mind…because she has several ideas going around here that she’s trying to collapse into one…she is arguing that 1) the idea that marriage really matters will weaken from gay marriage and 2) the idea of marriage that will be weakened is the one that has a mom and a dad. Which I presume is the one she thinks is correct.

But she so slyly wraps the two together. Marriage matters because children needs a mom and a dad. So marriages with two dads or two moms? You guys are the enemies.

So, Ms. Gallagher is able to triumphantly (or regrettably report):

Massachusetts voters were also asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised by their married mother and father.” Seventy-six percent of voters agreed (66 percent strongly) while 21 percent disagreed (13 percent strongly).

A similar question was asked in a 2004 poll of Massachusetts residents. In 2004, 84 percent of Massachusetts residents agreed (33 percent strongly) and 16 percent disagreed (2 percent strongly). Thus, in the five years since gay marriage became a reality in Massachusetts, support for the idea that the ideal is a married mother and father dropped from 84 percent to 76 percent. The proportion who disagreed strongly increased nearly sevenfold, from 2 percent in 2004 to 13 percent in 2009.

Yes, her trap card.

What Gallagher wants people to get from this data is something like, “EGADS, PEOPLE DON’T SUPPORT MARRIAGE ANYMORE!”

Ok, so maybe that’s not as bad as she wants to go. But she definitely finds it problematic that not as many people are thinking one mom+one dad is “ideal”  anymore.

But I’m not seeing the brimstone…instead, I’m kinda wondering what kind of level of disingenuousness must Gallagher be going for to phrase the results in such a way.

Could it be…possibly…that the reason less people are vehemently supporting such a statement as was listed (that is, “All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised by their married mother and father.”) is because they realize that in five years of seeing gay parents raise children, these children are still growing up okay? And not only ok, but perhaps…just as well as with a man and a woman? And so people don’t believe it is ‘better’ to have one way or the other because they see that…it really doesn’t matter either way!? I mean, call off the nuclear warning sirens —

Don’t know what to really say about the last few questions asked though…

A further 36 percent of voters who oppose gay marriage agreed with the statement, “If you speak out against gay marriage in Massachusetts you really have to watch your back because some people may try to hurt you.” (Twenty-six percent agreed strongly.) Fifteen percent of voters who oppose gay marriage say they personally know someone who experienced harassment or intimidation because of their belief that marriage involves a man and a woman.

Oops guys.

I guess though that’s what you get from different polls. The National Organization for Marriage, well-known for its support of traditional marriage, would probably be most likely to find such shocking results at these. What happens when you have a different poll, though?

Respondents were asked “Do you agree or disagree that the following outcome has surfaced because gay and lesbian couples can legally marry:
Marriage encourages responsibility and commitment, which are important values for a strong society. It’s better for society that more couples are taking responsibility and making long-term commitments to each other.” Fully 74% of people agreed with that statement.
Overall, Massachusetts folks seemed proud of their state, with 60% saying that gay marriage had helped the state live up to its values of equality and fairness. They also tend to believe the rest of the country should acknowledge their laws: 70% of respondents thought that gay and lesbian couples married in Massachusetts should receive all the same federal benefits as other married couples.

oh, I see.

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