Short hits: LGBT rights edition

1. Following President Obama’s statement that he supports gay and lesbian people being able to marry, Gallup finds that 51% approve and 45% disapprove of Obama’s announced position, numbers that closely track to overall views on marriage.

For Democrats, the percentages are 71-25; independents respond 53-44; and Republicans 23-74.

2. Ronald Brownstein has a very smart piece on the politics of the Obama’s stance on marriage. When it comes to the electoral college and political leaders, Brownstein notes:

By the end of this year, 13 of the 18 “blue wall” states that have voted Democratic in at least the past five consecutive elections may have authorized gay marriage or civil unions.  Leading potential 2016 Democratic presidential contenders like governors Andrew Cuomo in New York and Martin O’Malley in Maryland have embraced the idea.

Moreover, as Democrats’ electoral coalition has changed, it has become composed of demographic groups that are most supportive of same-sex marriage (or, in the case of African-Americans and Hispanics, more concerned with other issues and thus unlikely to be wedged from the Democratic party on this basis).

3. The rapid shift in Americans’ views has not gone unnoticed by Republicans. The response to Obama’s statement by Republican elected leaders and by conservative media like Fox News been quite muted. And one of George W. Bush’s 2004 pollsters is out with a memo recommending that Republicans find a way to support at least some of the LGBT rights agenda.

It’s worth reading the whole thing, but here are some selections:

Support for same sex marriage has been growing and in the last few years support has grown at an accelerated rate with no sign of slowing down. . . [T]he trends show that all age groups are rethinking their position. . . Polling conducted among Republicans show that majorities of Republicans and Republican leaning voters support extending basic legal protections to gays and lesbians.

The memo recommends that, in discussing LGBT rights, Republicans focus on “conservative fundamentals” such as “personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability, and emphasize freedom and limited government.”

It will be interesting to see how strongly social conservatives, a key part of the Republican coalition, react to Republicans’ blunting and shifting of messages about gay marriage and rights. In Maine, Michael Heath has deemed Mitt Romney unacceptable because he “launched homosexual marriage in New England.”

4. The Guardian has an excellent set of charts comparing all U.S. states on a variety of “rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people on a range of issues, including marriage, hospital visitation, adoption, housing, employment and school bullying.”  If you check these out, you’ll see some very clear regional differences.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.