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Tag: Minnesota

New Rhode Island marriage poll, NOM’s ads in Minnesota, and what’s on the ballot this year

by Adam Bink

Equality supporters on the steps of the Rhode Island State Capitol

Providence was one of the more controversial stops on the NOM tour, the scene of some tense confrontations: equality supporters shouting at Brown, two men praying in tongues (our most viewed video from the tour), Brown spinning wildly regarding attendance, etc.

However, a new poll out this morning shows the issue being debated- marriage equality- isn’t too controversial at all. The Rhode Island Marriage Coalition released a new poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner showing that 59% of Rhode Island voters support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples- a 10% increase from the last poll conducted in 2008. When individuals are told it would not impinge on a church’s right to marry who they chose- which is part of the recently enacted law here in DC- support increases to a remarkable 66%.

Some of the poll’s major findings:

  • The new pro-equality majority is demographically diverse. It includes Catholics (57 percent), women over 50 (56 percent), independent voters (58 percent) and parents (64 percent).
  • Support increases further with First Amendment reassurance. When told that marriage equality would not infringe on a church’s right to marry whom they choose, support increases to 66 percent overall and 63 percent among Catholics.
  • Politically, this is a net positive vote for state lawmakers. Asked about the impact of a vote for equality on their support for, 27 percent say they would be more inclined to support a candidate, 24 percent are less inclined, and nearly half (46 percent) say it would make no difference. Just 13 percent are much less likely to support a pro-equality candidate.
  • In Rhode Island, the LGBT community is the mainstream. Overall, 79 percent of voters here know a gay or lesbian person and 45 percent describe their feeling toward gay and lesbian people as favorable, while just 18 percent are critical. Seventy-five percent believe “homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society.”

It’s a big step forward.

On the politics of it, Gov. Carcieri, a horrible anti-LGBT elected official who even vetoed a bill to extend the right to make burial decisions of a loved one to same-sex couples, along with a bill to expand the definition of hate crimes to include gender identity/expression, is thankfully term-limited. Both leading contenders to replace him- State Treasurer Frank Caprio, a Democrat, and former Sen. Lincoln Chafee, an Independent- have said they would sign a bill legalizing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The Rhode Island State House Speaker, Gordon Fox, is openly gay, and it’s expected equality supporters are very likely to have the votes in the State Legislature.

That brings me to another issue, which is the importance of gubernatorial races this year. A lot of anger poured out after Hawaii Gov. Lingle’s veto of a civil unions bill recently, including calls for a boycott. She is also leaving office, and now-former Rep. and Democratic candidate Neil Abercrombie is the only candidate who has said he will sign the bill and does not want to put the issue to the ballot. In Minnesota, where NOM just launched new radio ads attacking the Democratic and Independent candidates for governor over their support for the freedom to marry and lack of support for a constitutional amendment, we have another pivotal race, as the person who sits in the governor’s chair could be the one to sign or veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. The same could be true in Rhode Island.

The point is that while it is (thankfully) a year free of anti-equality ballot initiatives like Maine’s Proposition 1 or California’s Proposition 8, this is not a “bye week” for our movement out in the states. There are still key gubernatorial elections that could decide the fate of marriage equality and civil unions in states. We’ll keep a close eye peeled on them, and hope you will too.

208 Comments August 19, 2010

Lack of Political Power in Minnesota and Script 5

By Julia Rosen

One of the main arguments by the plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger is that LGBTs lack the political power to protect their basic rights. Nowhere is that more evident today than Minnesota. Governor Pawlenty, who many expect will run for president in 2012, just vetoed a bill that would have allowed same-sex partners to decide what should happen with their loved one’s body when they die. Pioneer Press:

Pawlenty had said he would veto the bill, calling it unnecessary because partners can draw up a living will. But advocates argue that married couples do not have to do that and that legal documents often cost money to draft.

The “Final Wishes” bill would have been the second one supported by Project 515 to be passed into law. The group is named after the 515 Minnesota laws it says discriminate against same-sex couples, though the group is not seeking marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

Pawlenty’s actions are absolutely reprehensible. Can you imagine what it would be like for a surviving member of a same-sex couple to have to watch a perhaps distant relative make that decision because they forgot to go to a lawyer to pay them for documents that a marriage automatically provides?

This issue of political power is actually Script No. 5 “Gary Segura: Do gay and lesbians lack political power.” Fight back against Pawlenty. Go reenact Script 5 and spread the message that unless marriage equality is the law of the land, we will continue to have losses just like today in Minnesota.

53 Comments May 17, 2010