Saturday, April 11, 2009

Analyzing the Results of the Poll

Well, my first poll conducted on my blog just closed a few days ago. Here are the results:

6 people said gay marriage should be allowed.
3 people said gay marriage should not be allowed.
6 people said civil unions were okay, but not marriage.
0 people said that they didn't care one way or another.

Okay, so lets analyze the results. Naturally, if you don't care, why vote at all? That was sort of a dumb question on my part. But moving on, at first glance, one might think that there were more in favor of gay marriage being allowed than there were against it. But then you would have to consider the third option. Altogether, 9 people said that they felt gay marriage should not be allowed. Of those 9, 6 believed that civil unions should be allowed and recognized. What does that mean? It means that even though some don't believe marriage should be allowed, a majority do feel that gay relationships should be recognized in some way. If you look at the results in this way, you will find that a large majority had this feeling. Whether through marriage or civil unions, a total of 12 to 3 felt that gay relationships should be recognized. I think that's important to point out. Of those 12, half believe gay relationships should be recognized through marriage. The other half believe they should be recognized through civil unions. But there was not a consensus on how they should be recognized. There were only 3 people who voted who believe gay relationships should not be recognized.

I really find this interesting. When I first began this poll, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I had a hunch that more would be in favor of recognizing gay relationships in some fashion, due to the background of those who typically follow my blog (and that was a variable that should be considered here in this poll), but I was surprised to see the even split between those who favored gay marriage to civil unions. Even though a majority favored recognizing gay relationships in some way, that majority was evenly divided about how to recognize such relationships. After seeing these results, I'm not as surprised now about the failure to prevent Proposition 8 from passing in California a few months ago. These results, I think, show that indeed, the majority of people are not in favor of gay marriage. However, that does not suggest that the majority is against recognizing homosexual relationships.

So what are the implications? I see a problem here for those in the gay community fighting for gay marriage. Is the ultimate goal here a recognition of homosexual relationships, or is it to prove that homosexual relationships are exactly the same as heterosexual relationships? If it's the later, the results will always prove fatal. Gay relationships can never be exactly the same as straight relationships. Two men are not the same as a man and a woman. It's as simple as that. And I think most people see this. They see there is a difference here (Yes, apples and oranges are both fruit, but an apple can never be an orange). This poll of mine indicates this belief. However, if the goal is simply to get a recognition of homosexual relationships, then wouldn't it seem a far better bet to focus attention on civil unions? I do not doubt that all of those who supported gay marriage in my poll would also support civil unions for gay couples. However, those who supported civil unions clearly showed they were not in favor of gay marriage. My argument is wouldn't it be better for supporters of gay marriage to support civil unions instead? First off, they would clearly have an easier case to make, and if they won, they would still get all the rights and benefits given to straight married couples. The only difference is that they would have to let go of their attempt to prove the two kinds of relationships as the same. Logic suggests the two can never be the same. Not really. So, why not just accept that and fight for what's actually achievable?

There again, is gay marriage not achievable? More and more states seem to be accepting it. But just because the state accepts it, does that mean everyone will accept it? I don't think so. As a Christian, I can never accept any union between two people of the same sex as marriage. Even if the state allows gay marriage, which I tend to believe it should, I still could not accept it. That's just not marriage to me. It may be like marriage, but it's not marriage. I could, however, accept civil unions. As a Christian, I can't really complain about civil unions at all. So, wouldn't that be better to fight for? Looks to me like that would be a win win for everyone.

Let me know what you think. How do you feel about the results of this poll? Do you see the same implications I do?

As for the next poll, I'm still undecided as to what it will be about. I have a few ideas, but I've not settled on one just yet. So, keep a look out. I should have my mind made up in the next few days.


Anonymous said...

...and if they won, they would still get all the rights and benefits given to straight married couples.

This is an unproven assumption. In fact, there's been much evidence to demonstrate the exact opposite. New Jersey implemented civil union legislation a couple years ago that was supposed to do exactly this. And New Jersey marriage equality advocates have documented numerous cases where New Jersey couples in civil unions have still been denied various rights and protections that were guaranteed to married couples.

And that's the problem with going for civil unions instead. As long as it's a different name, someone somewhere will always find a loophole to ensure that married couples receive a priveleged status over those who only quality for a civil union.

Either everyone gets state-sanctioned marriage or everyone has to setting for state-sanctions civil unions. Either solution would guarantee equal protection under the law. Anything else is "separate but equal" and is doomed to failure.

Joe said...

Gay relationships can never be exactly the same as straight relationships.

Ah... but straight relationships can easily be made to be more like gay relationships. That's the trend in the UK. Our GLBT leaders never discussed the option of "marriage". I can remember when Stonewall, the leading campaigning group for civil unions, would delete any reference to marriage from their website forums.

Our gay press cheer on opposition to Prop 8 but never ask the question "Why don't we have gay marriage here?"

It some ways I admire the American pursuit of legal equality - but, on the other hand, I still think marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Brandon said...

I agree with you, Joe.


I understand your argument here. I read somewhere recently that a new measure in California currently being discussed would take marriage completely out of the equation. The government would only recognize domestic partnerships, which would include both gay and straight relationships (whether those relationships are called marriage or not). The idea is that marriage won't be the issue the government has to tackle here. I sort of agree with this approach to settling the matter. Rather than redefining the traditional definition of marriage in order to recognize gay relationships/unions/etc., the government would simply lump all those things under one category. I see no problem with doing this.

In my post, I think I might have only alluded to it, but I honestly think what a lot of homosexuals want is a forced acceptance from Christians. I don't see that ever happening. And that was part of my argument for civil unions. Even if marriage is allowed, if that's not what's really wanted, but what's wanted is greater acceptance, they're still not going to get that. Their relationships may be recognized by the state, but they won't be accepted among most Christians/religious groups. Neither getting civil unions nor marriage will achieve this. That being the case, why not just fight for the thing that's easiest to get? If done right, civil unions can be just as beneficial as marriage.

I understand what you're getting at. My advice to the people who have endured those loopholes is for them to keep fighting so that the loopholes no longer exist. That's still the easier fight, I think.

Rose said...

Hi Brandon. You say "As a Christian, I can never accept any union between two people of the same sex as marriage."

As a Chrisitian, you presumably can never accept divorce, either (except in a few very distinct situations).

I presume, therefore, that you believe divorce should be illegal? And that marriage after divorce is adultery? I'm fine with Christians suggesting that marriage laws be written using Biblical precepts, but surely one must be consistent?

Brandon said...

Rose, I've had no part in writing any laws. But if I did, I'd probably make most of them religion neutral. I don't think it's right for a society that promotes freedom to suggest that all of it's citizens be governed by the ideas of any one particular religion.

My argument here is that if the government wants to allow gay marriages, that's fine by me. I won't stand in the way of that. I just think civil unions may be the better fight for gay couples.

Having said that, even though I think gay marriage should be allowed as far as the state (or government) is concerned, as a Christian, I can't accept a gay relationship as marriage. Marriage for me has certain distinct religious cannotations about it, which two men, or two women, simply cannot meet.

Tit for Tat said...


Like you actually need a poll to tell you what you know is right and fair. Tell me what constitutes a marriage? Can you even answer that and keep a straight face while you do it?

Brandon said...

I generally do (keep a straight face answering this). And the poll wasn't to help me form an opinion about right and wrong. It was to help me see what others were thinking.

So, what constitues marriage? Marriage is when one man and one woman commit themselves to each other in a monogamous, loving, lifelong relationship.

That's what marriage is. The definition simply does not, and has never before, included two men, or two women. Whatever relationship that is, it is not marriage to me.

Like I've already said though, this is my view and I don't believe it should be forced onto others. If two gay men want to consider themselves married it's really no concern of mine. It should be their decision to make. That's why I have no problem with the government allowing gay marriages. But that doesn't mean that what they have, and what they call marriage, will be accepted as marriage to me. Or other Christians.

Pomoprophet said...

just stopping by to say hi! :)

Brandon said...

Hello, hello! :)