Thursday, December 4, 2008

Investigating the Obvious: Why Prop 8 Passed in California

USA Today released that they did a poll to figure out what groups voted for Proposition 8, the proposition to ban gay marriage in California. And guess what they found out? They discovered that the primary determinants were economic status and religious affiliation. REALLY?!? Religious views played a part in people's stance on gay marriage?

I think everyone assumed that some religious reasons stood behind the constitutional ban that, therefore, ironically puts an interesting twist on the "wall of separation" between Church and State. I quote:

The ban drew its strongest support from both evangelical Christians and voters who didn't attend college, according to results released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Education, religious tendencies, and economic status seem to be the strongest factors then. Age and race, interestingly, did not play a statistically significant role. But, when breaking down religious affiliation: 85% of evangelical Christians, 66% of Christian Protestants, and 60% of Catholics favored the ban. I guess religion was only statistically significant for Christian groups.

Other factors: It was supported by 69% of those who did not attend college, those who make less than $40,000 a year, and 61% of Latinos. Other than Latinos, I guess, other ethnic groups remained around 50% or so. Given the way the economy is going and how expensive it increasingly becomes to attend college, those who make less than $40,000 and those without a college education will be the same people, which will continue the cycle.

The ban, by the way, passed with 52% of the vote. Still, of those polled, 48% opposed legalizing gay marriage, 47% supported legalizing, and 5% were undecided. So, it is a close issue.

What people should think long and hard about is whether a religious position should be enshrined into law. Just because, religiously, you oppose gay marriage does not mean you should make that the law of the land. Even if the majority opposes it does not necessarily mean they should enshrine it into law. Ever heard of something called the tyranny of the majority, which oppresses minority positions? In fact, much of our legal apparatus is set up to defend people against the tyranny of majority positions, to protect people's free exercise of religion even if it differs from the majority positions on religion, for example.

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