President Obama’s overall popularity hasn’t changed much since he announced his support for same-sex marriages, according to a poll this week.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday said about a third of the nation viewed the president more favorably since the announcement, and about a third viewed him less favorably.
The poll estimated, because of his disclosure, 31 percent of Americans have a higher opinion of the president, while 30 percent have a lower opinion. Forty percent responded to the poll by saying the announcement had little or no impact on their viewpoint.
Among independents, the group where presidential elections are all too frequently decided, the difference was greater: Nineteen percent told the pollster they viewed Obama more favorably after he said his personal views about gay marriage had changed, while 26 percent said they viewed him less favorably. Fifty-four percent of the polled independents said the president’s views on the subject had no impact on their opinions.
Where the greatest shift appeared was in Republican and Democratic circles.
Among GOP members, 56 percent said their opinions of the president worsened, while 53 percent of Democrats said it improved.
The president did say the legalities of same-sex marriage should be left up to the states. You would think from the reaction he was calling for actual repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
RecentGallupand Pew polling has found a sea change in American’s attitudes toward same-sex marriages the past eight years. Pew shows support for gay marriage slightly ahead of opposition, andGalluphas polled just more than half in favor of same-sex marriages.
InNevada, we allow same-sex couples identical rights as married heterosexual partners. And while that seems equitable to some, many oppose it as being too much, while others feel it’s not enough.
The cusp of the opposition usually is morality, an opposition to sex sin, and frequently based on Judeo-Christian ethics. The demand for same-sex unions to be considered actual marriages is framed as a civil rights issue.
The argument for equal rights is flawed. A gay man has the equal right to marry as a heterosexual man. But he must marry a person of the opposite sex. We limit marriages now. Family members for example, parents and their offspring, siblings and first cousins may not marry. To marry, a person must have reached the age on consent. And in all 50 states, a person may be legally married to only one spouse at a time.
But the morality argument also is flawed. Our society has allowed the institution of marriage to evolve beyond the limitations set down in the Bible. At one time, divorce was not allowed, unless for infidelity or religious apostasy. But a divorced person was expected to remain unmarried. The only way to have a second spouse, was for the first to have died.
Polygamy was advocated for some in the Bible. Solomon’s wives and concubines would be unwise by today’s morals. And if a brother died, his wife was to be married to another brother, even if he already had a wife.
So the argument comes down simply to what the majority sets as the norms for everyone else, And that norm, like the president’s views, can evolve over time and has. We now have no fault divorce and can remarry as often as we can find a willing partner.
Polygamy is allowed in our society as long as it’s one partner at a time.
But the health and welfare of society should be the paramount concern when we consider which behavior is to be allowed and which banned.
Homosexuality did not introduce AIDS into our culture and spread the HIV virus. Promiscuous homosexuality in the public bathhouses of our metropolitan areas spread the disease. Homosexuality has been a part of human culture for as long as we’ve kept written records, and shunned for most of that history. But its disreputable reputation hasn’t prevented new generations of people with sexual preferences for their own gender from being a part of our nations, from the earliest civilizations to the present.
And because it has been forced to exist in the shadows, it’s been associated with other shady practices – drugs, alcoholism, sadism, masochism or pedophilia.
Our place should not be to dictate and define the absolute morality of our fellow citizens. That should occur only when their behavior has a negative impact on the rest of us. And homosexual promiscuity does just that, as does heterosexual promiscuity.
But a monogamous gay couple is not a threat to society, and we should encourage the gays among us to find someone to love, someone to be faithful to and someone to build a supportive family relationship with. That’s to the benefit of the rest of us, cutting down on disease and predation.
The president’s change of position will likely, in itself, lose him votes. But it also is providing him with millions more in campaign donations to win those votes back.
Times are changing in theU.S., with people under 35 more accepting of the homosexual lifestyle, at least in others.
But the effort to ban monogamous unions, such as passed inNorth Carolina, will not end homosexuality in our society. It will, however, prohibit open, same-sex monogamy, which is the best defense against the promiscuous spread of sexually transmitted diseases.