Study shows voters not swayed on same-sex propositions by campaign rhetoric

Foundation's report comes on eve of today's federal court hearing on Prop. 8

A San Francisco-based foundation released a study Tuesday that shows that voters nationwide don't change their minds during the course of an election campaign on whether to approve a ban on same-sex marriage.

Patrick Egan, an assistant professor of political science at New

York University, said the study looked at whether ballot measure campaigns "change voters' hearts and minds in a particular direction."

"That just doesn't happen," Egan said.

The new study was released on the eve of today's nonjury trial on a lawsuit in which two couples contend that Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban enacted by California voters in 2008, is unconstitutional. The daylong hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for today in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker.

The trial is the nation's first on a U.S. constitutional challenge to a prohibition on gay marriage. Walker heard two and a half weeks of testimony in January.

The new study was commissioned by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, a private foundation that has among its goals the advancement of gay and lesbian rights. It examined more than 100 polls taken in the six months before votes on ballot measures on same-sex marriage and domestic partnership in 32 states between 1998 and 2009. In most of the elections, including one on California's Proposition 8 in 2008, voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage.

Political science professor Egan said: "This report indicates that neither advocates nor opponents (of same-sex marriage) tended to gain support in any consistent fashion during these campaigns, despite the millions of dollars spent by both sides over the past decade."

Representatives of gay rights groups said the lesson they draw from the study is that an attempt to influence citizens to support same-sex marriage needs to begin well before an election campaign.

Kate Kendell, executive director of the San Francisco-based

National Center of Lesbian Rights, said, "Clearly, the time to change hearts, minds and votes to support equality is before a campaign starts."

Egan said a second finding of the study is that polls consistently underestimate by about 3 points the number of people who will vote in support of a ban on same-sex marriage.

In advance of today's federal court hearing, The federal judge Walker issued a list of 39 wide-ranging questions to be answered in closing arguments.

The queries posed by Walker cover all sides and angles of the case on topics ranging from voter intent and the role of churches in the 2008 election campaign to the definition and purpose of marriage.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are asked to answer, "What is the import of evidence showing that marriage has been historically limited to a man and a woman?"

On the other side, the judge asked the sponsors of Proposition 8, "What evidence in the record shows that same-sex marriage is a drastic or far-reaching change to the institution of marriage?"

Both sides were asked, "What purpose does a law requiring that a marital partnership consist of one man and one woman serve?"

The list of questions has a dozen for each side and 15 more queries for both sides.

The plaintiffs are asked what the significance would be if the trial evidence shows that Mormon, Roman Catholic and evangelical churches participated in the Proposition 8 election campaign in "an attempt to enforce private morality."

The defenders of Proposition 8 are asked, "Why is legislating based on moral disapproval of homosexuality not tantamount to discrimination?"

Walker's decision in the case is expected to be issued in writing sometime after the closing arguments. The case is certain to be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and may reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 13, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Web Link

well well well...take a look at this...all that $$$$$$$$$$$$$ money wasted on trying to violate the rights of fellow American citizens...eeh eeh eet, eeh eeh eet...



Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 13, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Web Link These are the questions asked by Judge Walker re: Prop 8 closing arguments!

This is an example of the American judicial system at its best! VIVA AMERICA! VIVA!



Like this comment
Posted by Edward
a resident of Happy Valley
on Jun 14, 2010 at 9:30 am

Good grief! What kind of rights are these gay people going to go for next? The right to molest children?

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 14, 2010 at 10:25 am

Most likely the right to have pasta parties or the right to wear shoes and socks!

Like this comment
Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 14, 2010 at 10:27 pm

M. is a registered user.


They want the same rights that are afforded to every other human being in this nation.

Like this comment
Posted by maja7
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jun 15, 2010 at 9:54 am

As it goes against my religious beliefs to support gay marriage, I cannot approve. But, I do think that people have the right to love,support and be legally-responsible for whomever they consider their significant other. The most important part of all this is couples, gay or straight, taking responsibility for their life-choices. So, I am going to presume that if gay marriage is allowed in our legal system that gay divorce will be as well. So that just means that we will have more children of divorce that are being shuffled from one house to another. Why would we want that? Straight people can't do marriage right. Why do gay people think they'll do a better job? Marriage takes work, compromise and sometimes, swallowing your pride for the sake of the children you've created. Good luck on this issue, it's a slippery slope we are all on.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jun 15, 2010 at 10:23 am

I haven't hear any GLBT people state that they will do a better job.

Nobody needs you approval.

Diversity is good for the world.

Like this comment
Posted by dublinmike
a resident of Dublin
on Jun 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm

dublinmike is a registered user.

"Straight people can't do marriage right. Why do gay people think they'll do a better job?"

maja7, this is your reasoning for denying homosexuals to marry? I can apply this reasoning to: no mixed racial marriages; Germans should not marry Italians (because they can't get it right) and on & on.

And,Edward, "gay people going to go for next? The right to molest children?" Using your reasoning, then men should have denied the right for women to vote. Next thing ya know, their running for Governor of Arizona (Jan Brewer), or Hawaii (Linda Lingle), or Connecticut (M. Jodi Rell) OR Alaska (you betcha).

The homosexuals are asking for the same rights as us straight people.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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