Let me pat myself on the back: I was the first to notice the sharp drop in public support for gay marriage, and I figured it out based solely on the fact the mainstream media was not reporting the toplines of a recent Reuters poll. That poll, conducted June 26-July 8, showed a 9 point drop in support for same-sex marriage (compared to a May Gallup poll with a similarly worded question).
Now, a new AP poll, conducted July 9-July 13 (three weeks after Obergefell), confirms: support for gay marriage has dropped sharply and concern for religious liberty is skyrocketing.
The AP poll asks, “Do you favor, oppose, or neither favor nor oppose, allowing same-sex couples to be legally married in your state?” In this latest poll, support for same-sex marriage dropped 6 percentage points from a late April poll, that is, from 40 percent to 34 percent. Meanwhile, opposition to gay marriage jumped from 30 to 34 percent, adding up to an 11 point swing in less than 3 months.
39 percent approve of the Supreme Court ruling favoring gay marriage and 40 percent disapprove.
Remember, we found in referendum campaigns that the majority of the people who say they don’t know in response to polls ended up being gay marriage opponents afraid to admit their views.
But the poll shows increasing distaste for the aggressive stance that same-sex couples should be able to put people out of business if they don’t cater to gay weddings. “Do you think wedding related businesses with religious objections should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples or not?” By 59 percent to 39 percent, Americans vote for liberty.
When asked which is more important in the case of a conflict between gay rights and religious rights, Americans chose religious rights by a whopping 56 to 39 percent.
Well, what would you expect when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court issues the warning religious liberty is in danger? It’s pretty hard to dismiss as scare talk from redneck yahoos when it is John Roberts sounding the alarm, isn’t it?
But more importantly, this is the power of outspoken presidential political candidates to affect culture: notice it. Don’t forget it. Those of us who care about life, marriage and religious liberty cannot afford to be seduced by the siren call of truce strategies that say “if we only shut up about this, we can win.”
Politics is not “downstream” of culture except in the most trivial sense; it is one form of culture, and it is the way conservatives prevent the Left from controlling the national discourse and writing us out of the mainstream.
The Left controls the academy, Hollywood, the mainstream media and many other organs of culture-creation. They do not control politics unless we let them, and through politics people learn they are not alone, they are not helpless, despair is not inevitable, there is something they can do.
I am going to be writing shortly about what I think we should do. Step one: Quit doing what isn’t working. Step two: Don’t abandon politics, do it better. There are more steps, and I will tell you more about them shortly.
Nothing is inevitable except death and taxes. And I’m not so sure about taxes.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.