I keep forgetting to link to Nate Silver's statistical analysis of when each state would defeat a same-sex-marriage ban. There is a great deal of confusion in the comments; most readers seem to think that Silver is predicting dates when same-sex marriage will become legal in each state, but that's not what he's doing at all. He's predicting dates when a constitutional ban in each state would no longer get a majority of the vote.
So although it's a heartening set of predictions, it's not as positive as it initially looks. For example, many states already have constitutional bans; I'm guessing that in most of those states, the issue isn't going to come before the voters again anytime soon.
California being an exception; I'm expecting that we'll have a "repeal Prop 8" measure on the ballot in 2010. (I'm also expecting the CA Supreme Court will not repeal Prop 8.) I'm glad to see that Silver's model shows CA rejecting a ban in 2010, but I'm dubious--I suspect that arguments like "the people spoke two years ago, so why are these people bringing this up again?" will carry a lot of weight with voters. I don't think Silver's model includes any instances of states that already have a ban voting on a repeal, though I may be forgetting one or two such instances.
Anyway, one interesting thing about Silver's model is that it depends largely on only two factors (plus the passage of time): percentage of adults who say religion is important to them, and percentage of white evangelicals. "All of the other variables that I looked at -- race, education levels, party registration, etc. -- either did not appear to matter at all, or became redundant once we accounted for religiosity."
Speaking of polls:
- Turns out there's not just one recent poll in New York about same-sex marriage; there are two such polls, with somewhat different numbers. But they both say that a plurality of New Yorkers are in favor of same-sex marriage. (That's New York state, not just city.)
- A poll in Maine about the current bill in their state legislature that would legalize same-sex marriage shows numbers very close: "49.5 percent said they oppose the bill, 47.3 percent said they support it and 3.3 percent said they don't know." Note that that "don't know" number is unusually low: "on questions about public-policy issues, there is normally a higher percentage in the 'don't know' category -- usually 8 percent to 10 percent."
Unrelated to any of the above: a fascinating Atlantic article from 2007 about a group of rich gay political donors who've been quietly spending large amounts of money to defeat state-level anti-gay candidates all over the country for the past few years.
The idea makes me a little uncomfortable--it's quite legal, but (a) it fuels paranoia about The Gay Agenda and gay conspiracies and such, and (b) nobody likes big money from out of state coming in and helping local candidates. (There was a lot of outrage about Utahns funding Prop 8, for example--yeah, there were a lot of questionable things about that whole situation, but I think a lot of us were gut-level upset about big donations from other states, even though that's entirely legal.) Nonetheless, it's a fascinating approach, and it again highlights the importance of working locally for change. Doesn't mean we can't also work on candidates at the national level, but man, if we could get most of the state legislatures on our side, that would be amazing.
Here's one more video: "This Place," a TV ad made by One Iowa, to protect same-sex marriage there:
"And to those outsiders who want to put discrimination into our constitution, shame on them."
Btw, the first applications for same-sex marriages will be accepted in Iowa this coming Monday, April 27; their three-day waiting period means that there may not be any marriage licenses issued until next Thursday, April 30 (sez Wikipedia).
All of which obliquely reminds me to mention that the ending of "Talking Union Blues" has been running through my head intermittently for the past couple weeks:
If you don't let red-baiting break you up;
If you don't let stoolpigeons break you up;
If you don't let vigilantes break you up;
If you don't let race hatred break you up--
What I mean, take it easy, but take it!
Different struggle, but I think the same general idea applies.