Thursday, November 18, 2004

A sober look at election statistics

Independent Gay Forum: 'The Religious Revival, Gay Marriage, and Federalism.'

While I don't agree with all of conclusions drawn in this article, I do appreciate that the stats have been viewed from a more sober point of view.
First, don't panic. The evidence for an anti-gay religious landslide in the 2004 election is actually quite slim. Yes, 22 percent of voters rated “moral values” as the top issue. But 78 percent did not. And Kerry voters comprised almost one-fifth of that 22 percent, so the pro-Bush morality voters were about 17 percent of the total. Some minority of these people support gay equality or think of “moral values” as being mainly about abortion or a candidate's personal integrity. So probably no more than 15 percent of all voters were driven to the polls primarily by a hellfire-and-brimstone opposition to gays.
That bears repeating. 85% of voters were thinking of something other than gay marriage on 11/02. Something like 23% of gays voted for Bush, after all.

And while religious zeal may be on the rise, I believe - and the statistics bear this out - that Iraq and the war on terror were the number 1 issue. Kerry's "I have plan" refrain wore thin. Most people looked at his record, and decided that his plan probably consisted of appeasement. This is only my belief, of course. As I have said elsewhere; appeasement didn't work with Hitler, it didn't work in Spain (pulling out of Iraq did not stop bomb making) and I don't see it working in any part of the world. Appeasement doesn't work. (If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want a glass of milk.)

That leaves the strategy for achieving gay equality:
We will have to do the hard and time-consuming work of persuading our fellow citizens in the states that they have nothing to fear from encouraging commitment among gay couples.
And although my friends don't like to hear it, the in-your-face strategy - which today is almost a lifestyle - will have to change as well. News coverage of some of the things that happen in the large cities doesn't play well in Peoria. I am not advocating going back in the closet, but if we want to just be "the couple next door," then that is what we will have to be.

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