City Desk

D.C. Gay Marriage Polling: Some Thoughts

In his column this week, LL makes a case for why supporters of gay marriage in the District should embrace the idea of a ballot initiative. Right now, the orthodoxy among marriage equality advocates is that such matters of civil rights should never be put up for a vote. That's a principle that's hard to dispute. LL, however, sees an exception where civil rights would win big, and where pounding the opposition into dust would not only feel really good but also advance other political objectives.

Still, you may ask: Why is LL so convinced that gay marriage would win big?

There's polls, you see: A July poll of registered Democrats in three wards conducted by leading business types showed 77 percent support for gay marriage. Then there's another, lesser known poll that's been whispered about for months among local same-sex-marriage advocates—a poll that the Human Rights Campaign, national advocacy group, had conducted in the spring showing upwards of 65 percent support citywide, LL is told by multiple sources. That's landslide territory.

But a couple of things worth mentioning on that polling. First off, the July poll was done in wards 1, 3, and 6—areas considered especially white and especially liberal. And, under a racial breakdown, the difference are stark: 92 percent of whites said they'd favor a council marriage bill, while only 41 percent of blacks said so. The age divide is stark as well: For those over 65 support drops to 64 percent from over 80 percent for all other age groups.

In other words: Surprise—the race and generational divides are real.

Then there's the HRC poll, which is shrouded in secrecy. LL has not seen an actual polling report or gotten any details on question format of sampling methodology. On Tuesday, LL called up the HRC and asked for details on the poll. This is what he got, a statement from spokesman Brad Luna: "From time to time, on a variety of issues of importance to our community across the country, we will go into the field with a public opinion poll. These polls are primarily done for internal guidance and the results of them are not released."

Obviously, the HRC has an interest in keeping the results close to the vest. Start publicizing that there's a huge majority in favor of your position, and you get local political columnists making harebrained arguments that you should betray your principles and just have a vote already.

The commenters over on the column have already started to explain why LL's got it all wrong. Feel free to chip in here as well.

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  • Bill

    What b u l l s h i t.

    Heterosexuals can't WAIT to vote against THE VERY GAY PEOPLE THEY THEMSELVES CREATED. They do it EVERY time.

    Human Rights, when being denied, should NOT be decided by the group that is DENYING THE HUMAN RIGHTS to its citizens.

    How backwards is that? Sure. Let me seek my human rights from those who deny me those rights.

    Makes perfect sense. Not.

    Is it any wonder this country fails to live up to its Constitutional guarantees when a minority group's rights are voted on?????????????????????????????????????

  • Steve

    "Right now, the orthodoxy among marriage equality advocates is that such matters of civil rights should never be put up for a vote. That’s a principle that’s hard to dispute."

    I absolutely hate this notion because it's hysterically false. There are so many people who simply don't believe that this is a civil rights issue so who are the gays and liberals to decide that it is? This is a democracy - let the people vote.

  • Rick Rosendall

    Steve: because I am a human being. I exist as a gay man, whether you acknowledge it or not. It is not up to you or others to decide whether to accept that I am entitled to equal protection of the law. That is my birthright. The people can testify at the legislative hearing on the marriage equality bill once it's been introduced, and they can work to replace any councilmembers who support the bill if it offends them so much. But a referendum would violate the D.C. Human Rights Act, as the Board of Elections and Ethics already ruled regarding the marriage recognition bill. The same content restrictions apply to initiatives as to referenda. Some of us have been working on this for a very long time, and your chances of defeating us with a lot of ill-concealed bigoted posturing are very small.

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  • niello8

    sorry Steve if you are married you enjoy over 1000 civil rights that gay people have no access to.

  • matty

    Steve: So I get to vote on your marriage and your civil rights? Didn't think so.

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  • bluprntguy


    This is not a democracy. The United States of America is a REPUBLIC. If you have any doubt about this, please recite the pledge of allegiance quietly to yourself.

    Then go wikipedia the word "Republic" and come back here and have a thoughtful discussion.

    I hate stupid morons

  • bluprntguy

    By the way, the people of DC have ALREADY voted on this issue. They did so in 1977 when they voted on the Human Rights Act. They said at that time that they rights of minorities was not an appropriate subject for ballot initiatives by the majority. They decided that those matters should instead be decided by the District's elected representatives. The District's Council has found that the rights of marriage should be extended to all the City's citizens and should not be dependent on gender.

    The only people that seem to have a problem with the Council's decision are black pastors that don't even live in DC, bigoted old white men that are beholden to another country(Vatican City), and idiots from other states that want to meddle in the affairs of the District's Citizens.

  • noodlez




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