Honey, I shrunk the bigots

A new study released today, and summarized by the Washington Post, shows that opposition gay marriage is shrinking, and now generally resides in only three pockets of Americans: white evangelicals; old people; and uneducated whites. The rest are basically on our side.

It’s no wonder that Republicans are increasingly divided over marriage equality. As with immigration, it’s becoming increasingly clear to a growing number of Republicans that they’re not only on the wrong side of history, they’re on the wrong side of politics.

gay marriage

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Hating on gays, like hating on Latinos, isn’t winning the GOP many friends at the ballot box. And the friends it is winning are either disappearing (old people), poor and thus not a great donor base for the GOP (uneducated whites), or despised by everyone to left of Attila the Hun (white evangelicals).

None of that is a recipe for future political success outside of Alabama.

They study, released today by Freedom to Marry, is interesting since it was undertaken by a Democrat and a Republicans: The guy who led Obama’s polling in 2008 and 2012; and the guy who did the same for George W. Bush.

Old People

The study shows that people over the age of 65 overwhelmingly oppose same-sex marriage.  But those under 65 favor gay marriage 54 to 44.  And with every year, that pool of over-65 voters who don’t support gay marriage will shrink as they slowly die off.


White evangelicals hate us.  No surprise there.  But the Post noted a fascinating fact: “[E]very non-evangelical group — other white Protestants, white Catholics, Hispanic Catholics, African American non-evangelicals and Jewish voters — expressed support for such unions by double-digit margins.”

And even African-American evangelicals were split 45 for, 47 again.  You know we’re winning the culture wars when black evangelicals are coming around to our side.

It’s almost funny to think back less than a year ago when the big debate was whether African-American voters were going to desert President Obama because of his open embrace of same-sex marriage.  Then came the November elections and not only did Obama do fine among blacks, we even won marriage in a state in which black Democrats have a large influence, Maryland.

Rather than Obama’s position on marriage equality pushing black voters away, it appear that the opposite happened.  The President helped woo some black voters to our cause.

The infamous wedge that the religious right was hoping to drive between gay Democrats and black Democrats never materialized.  Someone we all just got along.

Another group we long-worried about, Latinos, in part because of their strong Catholicism, have also proven to be remarkably supportive, with a PEW poll last year showing a majority of Latinos support same-sex marriage, 52-32.

White Uneducated

The last pocket of support that the haters have is among white voters who don’t have a college degree.  Though even 40% of them support gay marriage.  And I suspect they’ll face the same pressures from youth who become increasingly tolerant as time moves on.

I think it was Andrew Sullivan who wrote, or perhaps told me, once, years ago, that we were going to win gay marriage in a few generations, simply by attrition.  The old bigots were going to die off, and young people who support us would eventually become old people who support us.  What amazes me is that while I thought it might happen a few generations after my death, I never thought it would happen in my lifetime.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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