Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gay Marriage Advocates Plan Post Prop 8 California Strategy

400 GLBT activists meet in Los Angeles to discuss the next steps in their battle to legalize gay marriage in California. While Prop 8 is in appeal to the California Supreme Court, they were planning strategy if the appeal does not succeed. Two initiatives seeking to undo the voter-approved November measure have already been submitted to the Secretary of State, but according to the AP story, the leadership is recommending against trying to put a new initiative in support of gay marriage on the 2010 ballot:
"There is one thing worse than losing Prop. 8, and that would be losing again," said Chad Griffin, a Los Angeles political consultant who organized Hollywood's opposition to the ban. He was speaking to about 400 activists who gathered for a statewide planning summit here Saturday.

Although several legal challenges are pending before the California Supreme Court, the option of another ballot fight has been discussed as a backup strategy since Proposition 8 passed with 52 percent of the vote. The court could render a decision as early as June.

If the Supreme Court upholds the measure, that would leave same-sex marriage supporters with a viable, but very tight window in which to prepare and pull off a November 2010 rematch, said John Henning, executive director of the gay marriage group Love Honor Cherish.

The AP story goes on to say that pollster Dave Binder cautioned against aiming for 2010:
David Binder, a San Francisco pollster who conducted a postelection analysis of why voters supported Proposition 8, said aiming for November 2010 has several advantages for same-sex marriage supporters.

For one, the disappointing outcome of the Proposition 8 fight has energized a lot of gay marriage supporters and the momentum could be lost by waiting two more years, Binder said. Also, California voters will be going to the polls next year to elect a new governor to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger, so turnout is likely to be high.

On the downside, passage of the measure, which marked the first time that voters were asked to take away marriage from gay couples who could legally wed, indicates that large numbers of voters remain firmly opposed to same-sex marriage. There may not be time to move enough of them to change their minds in 21 months, Binder said.

"There is significant groundwork that needs to be done, and I don't know if it can be done that quickly," he said. "You want to strike while the iron is hot, but moving too quickly and then losing would have an extremely damaging effect."

The story on the meeting in the San Francisco Chronicle gave more detail on Binder's presentation:
The survey of 1,066 voters, done by San Francisco pollster David Binder for the Equality California Institute, found that 73 percent of those who voted to ban same-sex marriage said there is no argument that would have changed their mind, while 7 percent said they would have only supported same-sex marriage if it was called something other than "marriage."

(So I guess that makes it 80%, right?)
"People came to this campaign with a lot of closed minds, and that's what made it so difficult," Binder told the crowd Saturday. In most ballot measure campaigns, there's more fluidity in the way voters view an issue, with more willingness to be convinced or swayed.

Do you see a weird inconsistency of thought here? These people are committed to getting gay marriage, but do they see themselves as closed minded? I bet not. But are they willing to be convinced or swayed against gay marriage? I bet not.
Of those who voted for Prop. 8, 84 percent said they either had personal or religious objections to same-sex marriage, reasons that leave little room for compromise. Nearly two-thirds of Protestants and 55 percent of Catholics backed Prop. 8, and 70 percent of those who attend religious services at least once a week favored the same-sex marriage ban.

Fifty-one percent of California voters polled said they believed that Prop. 8 was "unfair, unnecessary and wrong"; 44 percent disagreed. Likewise, 50 percent agreed that the measure would "allow discrimination against some groups and individuals," compared with 45 percent who felt the opposite way.

But Prop. 8 still got 52 percent of the vote.

"The influence of the church was a major factor," Binder said. "The religious aspect tended to win over concerns about discrimination."

If 51% polled said Prop. 8 was "unfair, unnecessary and wrong", but 52% voted for Prop 8, you might think that would cause Binder to question his polling methodology. Bit no, he is blaming Christian churches. I guess he thinks people voted for something they thought was "unfair, unnecessary and wrong" because the church leadership told them to.
While only a little over a third of the people who saw a "Yes on 8" ad found it convincing, the message that was most remembered was that a defeat for Prop. 8 would cause the teaching of same-sex marriage in the schools, something that wasn't in the ballot measure.

"We have to make people understand this is about civil rights and not about teaching in the schools," said Jim Carroll, managing director of the Equality California Institute.

The survey, taken Nov. 6-16, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

They have a tough sell because it is a fact that in Massachusetts, once gay marriage was approved by the Supreme Court, gay marriage really did become an accepted part of the school curriculum and objecting became illegal. Parents could not opt their children out of having King and King read to them in class.

No comments: