The New York Times Upshot writes today
of how the legalization of same-sex marriage indicates a familiar public opinion trend — civil rights expand and discrimination contracts as a rule.
Whether the U.S. Supreme Court marriage decision was premature or not, the article says the sharp approval rate for same-sex marriage (57 percent in the poll cited in this article) indicated marriage equality was inevitable.
Interesting, too, are the opinion trend lines noted in the article for many other hot topics: Abortion, gun control, the death penalty; women and minorities as president.
Most interesting to me are the areas in which broad national support for certain points of view aren't reflected in legislative sentiment — particularly in Arkansas and other Southern states. For example:'
* GUN CONTROL
: Surveys say 85 percent of Americans favor existing, or even more strict, gun control laws (down from 95 percent in 1990, but with half the population still in favor of stricter laws.) Don't tell that to Jason Rapert et. al.
80 percent think it should be legal at least under certain circumstances. Again ……..
* GAY DISCRIMINATION
: Fully 89 percent — versus 56 percent in 1977 — support equal employment rights for gay workers.
As recent events showed, that's a step Gov. Asa Hutchinson
and the Arkansas legislature
The death penalty has rocked along with a 60 percent approval rate, give or take a few points for almost 80 years (63 percent currently). Support for legal marijuana has jumped from 26 to 49 percent since 1985. Support for public smoking bans also jumped strongly over the years.
Here's an item of interest, too, in the effort to create a religious pretext for discrimination against gay people. Polls show 13 percent still oppose interracial marriage. Might they not avail themselves f religious protection in refusing public or private services to mixed-race couples? I say no. Sen. Rapert?
Finally, at least some small amounts of discrimination exist in terms of the sorts of people voters are willing to vote for as president. Here are percentages that still don't support presidents of these classifications: Atheist (46 percent); Jewish president (9 percent); Catholic president (6 percent), female president (5 percent).
But times do change. Sometimes for the better.
UPDATE: New CNN polling shows
63 percent support for the Obamacare ruling and 59 percent support for the marriage equality ruling.