In a recent "issues" poll, CNN asked (.pdf) about some hot button issues such as the Ground Zero mosque (68% of the public opposes it, which is why there is a Bill of Rights in the Constitution), the 14th amendment controversy (only conservatives and Republicans think it's a good idea to alter the Constitution to fit their prejudices), and gay marriage. They also asked about the bill for state aid to support teachers and Medicaid (60% support it.)
The gay marriage question was really interesting. They asked in two different ways (formatting and poll wording from pollster.com): is there a constitutional right to gay marriage, and should there be a constitutional right to gay marriage?
Do you think gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid?
49% Yes, 51% No
Do you think gays and lesbians should have a constitutional right to get married and have their marriage recognized by law as valid?
52% Yes, 46% No
So, on the question of what's the right thing to do, a majority of the public are supportive.
Nate helpfully supplies some context:
If it feels like a corner turned, it is. Even if the next poll shows a few points swing backwards, it doesn't matter. After all, as David Madland and Ruy Teixeira has pointed out, the millennials have no use for this issue:
Almost two-thirds agree that religious faith should focus more on promoting tolerance, social justice, and peace in society, and less on opposing abortion or gay rights.
While cynics like Peter King (bigot-Long Island) think the GOP is better off going after illegals, the fact is that the future belongs to equality.
But don't plan on convincing seniors any time soon. Talk to them about death panels, instead.
"People are still afraid that there are death panels ... or that Medicare is going to go away," says Cheryl Matheis of AARP, the nation's largest seniors organization. "We have an obligation to get the information out there.
Indeed. In fact, one of the outstanding comments on the gay marriage issue came from David Boies, one of the lawyers (with Ted Olson) that prepared for and won this case in CA. Boies noted that as proven in a court of law after exhaustive fact finding, there's no basis for continuing discrimination. No posturing allowed, just the facts.
It also occurred to me that there are a lot of similarities between this decision and the decision in the Dover evolution case. Hard-core right-wingers live in a fantasy world of their own creation. It is a world in which creationism and ID are legitimate science and evolution is not. It is also a world in which gay couples pose some sort of threat to heterosexual marriage, or are too morally suspect to raise children. When thundered from a stage or a pulpit to a generally supportive audience, such notions play very well. But put them in a forum with rules of evidence and a sober, nonemotional tone, and they crumble. Judge Walker in this case was absolutely scathing towards the defense, just as Judge Jones was in the Dover case. When forced to defend their ideas rationally, the right-wingers always come off looking like fools.
Too bad we can't put "death panels" on trial.