For those of us who tilled these vineyards for years, it was frustrating that the only people who felt strongly were people who were only 8 percent or 5 percent of the population or whatever, and the religious right -- you know what those numbers look like ... In the wake of Prop. 8 in California, we saw something in a way that I had never seen before, which was a whole lot of straight people getting involved and getting energized and feeling strongly about this issue.Polling expert Anna Greenberg believes that there is unrealized potential among fair-minded, thinking and compassionate heterosexuals.
... I would argue that there's some real work to be done in the so-called straight base of support for marriage. There's a lot more potential. I do think that we've seen some of the movement that Jon has talked about ... it's not just the increasing public prominence of people who are gay or coming out, it's not even having you know someone in your family or a co-worker, it's that people have people they are close to and care about who are coming out, who are gay and want to have recognition of their relationships.
In the research I've done, what's interesting, it actually isn't knowing someone that is a predictor of supporting a gay marriage. Liking and feeling close to someone who is gay is a predictor. You could have the uncle of the family who is gay, but you might not like him or you can disapprove of his choices that he's made. So it's not just having a family member or co-worker that's sufficient. But what I think we're seeing is an increasing number of people whose consciousnesses have been raised by discovering that they've got people who they care about and are close to who are gay and want to have their relationships recognized.
Indeed, a Southern beauty queen I know who might have at an earlier point in her life muttered the same inanities as Ms. California, now expresses support for LGBT rights because she knows me and my partner rather well. Because I explained to her how we are treated like second class citizens and how we are denied many benefits heterosexual married couples take for granted. Because I asked her to think about me and John when she votes or talks to her conservative friends. Because we are cousins as well as friends.
Image from the Sacramento Bee.