The year 2013 ushered in a number of data milestones in American public opinion. Here is a sampling reported by the Pew Research Center.
same sex marriage
Following last week's Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8, social ideals within the Republican Party are being brought to the forefront as Republican’s begin to strategize ways to gain support for the 2016 election. The Associated Press reports:
At the same time, the Supreme Court rulings supporting gay marriage attracted broad criticism from most 2016 hopefuls, though Paul suggested that Republicans need to "agree to disagree on some of these issues." That foreshadows likely fissures ahead, as Republican contenders face increasing pressure to show more tolerance toward gay marriage with many Republican voters in their 20s, 30s and 40s calling for acceptance.
Read more here.
The Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage, while historic, didn’t settle the issue. In fact, they fuel it.
For President Obama, the repercussions of Wednesday’s ruling striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act will mean review and revisions in hundreds of federal laws. In everything from Social Security checks to Pentagon benefits, gay married couples now must be treated the same way as heterosexual couples.
For gay rights advocates, the twin decision that opens the door to resume same-sex marriages in California bolstered determination to expand the right to wed for gay men and lesbians. The Human Rights Campaign set a goal to achieve that in all 50 states within the next five years.
“DOMA is dead.”
Such were the chants heard outside the United States Supreme Court yesterday when it was announced that the highest judicial body in the nation voted 5-4 to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That’s right. As of yesterday, there is no longer a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and woman.
Of course, not every American is roundly rejoicing. Responses from the Christian community, which has become more divided over the issue in recent years, are mixed. Conservative Christians seem mostly despondent while the progressives among them are mostly celebrating. I spoke with several prominent Christians from across the political spectrum today to get their reactions to the Court’s decision:
WASHINGTON — Rhode Island on May 2 became the 10th state to approve same-sex marriage, and the Delaware Legislature holds a key vote on May 9 on the same issue. But Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, denies there is a national tide in support of marriage rights for gay couples.
“I don’t know that I would say Rhode Island is a trend,” Brown said, also questioning victories for supporters of gay marriage initiatives in Maine, Maryland, and Washington state last November.
“Again, we’re talking about states that are not necessarily indicative of the rest of the country. These are pretty deep-blue, liberal states we’re talking about.”
Even so, Brown, the head of the leading national organization opposing same-sex marriage, finds himself playing defense as more Americans support same-sex marriage and more state legislatures debate measures authorizing it.
Isn’t it remarkable, attorney Ted Olson said after arguing for same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, that the other side wasn’t really arguing against it?
“No one really offered a defense,” he said of his opponents’ bid to uphold Proposition 8, the 2008 California referendum that effectively ended gay marriage in the state by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
The question inside the courtroom was not so much can there be gay marriage, but “how do you establish marriage equality?” said David Boies, another attorney for Prop 8 opponents.
Indeed, the lawyer trying to prop up Prop. 8, which was struck down by federal trial and appeals courts, spent barely any time talking about the virtues of traditional man-woman marriage or the hazards of same-sex marriage.
And that, for supporters of gay marriage, shows just how far this debate has come in the U.S.: It’s no longer “if” it will be accepted and legal, but “how” and “when.”
It’s not every day you see an ex-president ask the Supreme Court to strike down a law he signed.
The justices must decide whether the Defense of Marriage Act “is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional,” Clinton writes in The Washington Post.
The white working class, a potentially rich bloc of voters for Republicans or Democrats, hasn’t settled on Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama, a new study from the Public Religion Research Institute shows.
“These white working class voters are not particularly enamored of either candidate,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI’s research director. “In terms of their favorability, they’re both under 50 percent.” Forty-four percent look favorably upon Obama and 45 percent upon Romney.
Released seven weeks before the election, the August survey found Romney with a double-digit lead over Obama among the white working class, which preferred the GOP candidate 48 to 35 percent.
But Cox points out that the gap narrows to statistical insignificance among women voters in this group, and in the Midwest and West, home of several swing states. The upshot for Romney and Obama?
If they want to woo this group, which makes up 36 percent of the nation according to the study, the campaigns may want to consider other findings of the PRRI poll.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said Sept. 12 that conservative Christians are growing more enthusiastic about GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and predicted they would show up at the polls in record numbers in November.
"When it comes to the values of family, values of faith, values of freedom, Mitt Romney is a clear choice, I think, for value voters across this country," Perkins said at a National Press Club luncheon two days before his organization kicks off its annual Values Voter Summit in Washington.
Perkins, a Southern Baptist, said evangelical Christians have "significant theological differences" with Romney, a Mormon, but he said the GOP nominee, if elected, would not be asked to head a national church.
"We don't want a national church. We want religious freedom," he said. "I think someone who has been a part of a persecuted religion is going to be even more sensitive to the issue of religious freedom."