Obama and Civil Unions

Obama Truth Squad’s newest bit is out, but not posted yet.

They take on Obama’s position on gay marriage, but misrepresent the questions being dealt with.

Oak Park, IL ? In a letter to the editor of the ?Windy City Times? on February 11, 2004 US Sen. candidate State Sen. Barack Obama wrote:

?For the record, I opposed DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.?

They then cite the Annenberg Poll that shows that 61% of people oppose gay marriage.

But that is a different question. Barack supports civil unions, not gay marriage and he opposes the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

How does the public feel about civil unions?

In a CBS/New York Times poll

Support Gay marriage 28
Support Civil Unions 31
Oppose Both 38
Undecided 3

Oppose both stays right around 40% in several polls. A majority of people think there should be some sort of legal recognition available for gay couples. What exactly that entails is a good question as many people don’t seem to have firm understanding of all the issues.

To the other part of the critique, DOMA is significant because it forbids gay marriages where they may be legal from conveying the rights of married couples. So in Massachusetts one can legally have a same sex marriage, but cannot receive federal benefits that go with marriage. Repealing DOMA would allow the federal government to recognize a state’s choice as to what a marriage is.

Further muddying the issues in the post is the reference to Missouri’s State Constitutional Amendment. That amendment defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. But if you change the wording to a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, support drops significantly–how the question is asked frames the question.

When phrased the following way:

“Would you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman, thus barring marriages between gay or lesbian couples?” Form B (N=506, MoE ? 5)

7/19-21/04 Yes 48 No 46 D/K 6

But when asked this way:

“Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution saying that no state can allow two men to marry each other or two women to marry each other?”

Favor/Oppose Amendment
6/16-30/04 43 48
5/2-16/04 42 50
2/14-23/04 41 48

And finally when asked this way (most similar to Missouri’s language)

“Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow marriage ONLY between a man and a woman?” N=1,113 adults, MoE ? 3 (for all adults)

Favor 60 Oppose 37 D/K 3

Given the effect of the above is the same as a ban, the public views the issue different depending on how it is framed.

The public is squishy on the issue and if you delve deeper the public generally supports things like visitation rights and rights upon death, but the word marriage is a big sticking point. Barack’s views are close to the middle on this issue.

One thought on “Obama and Civil Unions

  1. Hey, you over at the Leader. Stick with this gay marriage argument. Really believe it and internalize it. Don’t let it go.

    Every year, you will lose a little more.

    The next generation thinks you are stark raving lunatics on this issue.

    Because God loves all his children and it isn’t your place to judge what they do. Things I learned in Sunday School.

Comments are closed.