Sunday, May 24, 2009

Size of homosexual contingent that opposes same-sex marriage

++Addition++At Secular Right, Razib finds that there is a larger gap among younger and older liberals and moderates than among younger and older conservatives on the question of same-sex marriage.


Last week in response to a caller who identified herself as a lesbian opposing same-sex marriage, radio host Michael Savage claimed that most homosexuals shared her view. While Savage has celerity of mind, for so heavily emphasizing his scientific credentials, he's often sloppy and imprecise. The assertion in question is an example of as much, although the exchange did pique my curiosity regarding the size of the gay minority opposing same-sex marriage.

In 2008, the GSS explicitly asked about sexual orientation for the first time. Of the 22 homosexuals who were also queried about whether or not they support same-sex marriage, 21 back it while only one expressed opposition. Among the same cohort of heterosexuals (N = 1146), 39.9% support it, 47.0% oppose, and 13.1% are on the fence.

To obtain a larger sample size (N = 85), a question about the gender of sexual partners serves as a proxy. From 2004 to 2008, of those whose partners over the last five years have exclusively been of the same sex, 78.8% support same-sex marriage and 10.6% oppose it, while the remainder fence-sits.

Clearly, the vast majority of homosexuals support same-sex marriage. Reasonable estimates of the percentages of gays opposing it are in the 5%-10% range.

On the topic of same-sex marriage, as of 2008, a full two-thirds (67.8%) of self-identified liberals support it, while 1 in 5 (21.4%) oppose. Among conservatives, the distributions are flipped--17.8% support and 69.4% oppose. Moderates are split, with 40.6% supporting and 44.8% opposing.

Andrew Stuttaford and Razib both think same-sex marriage is a battle conservatives are inevitably going to lose. In the last couple of years, the issue has become more ideologically polarized, but lending support to Andrew and Razib is the fact that liberals and moderates are shifting in support of same-sex marriage more rapidly than conservatives are shifting against it.

In 2006, 57.9% of liberal respondents backed same-sex marriage, compared to the 67.8% who most recently voiced support for it. One in 10 have gone over to the pro-gay marriage side in the last two years. Similar changes are occuring among self-described moderates. In 2006, 34.3% supported same-sex marriage. Now 40.6% do. Meanwhile, conservative opposition grew only marginally, from 67.5% in 2006 to the 69.4% currently opposing it.

GSS variables used: MARHOMO, SEX(1)(2), SEXSEX5, YEAR(2004-2008)(2006)(2008), POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7)


BGC said...

In the medium to long term, demographic trends will decide the issue - and worldwide the groups against same-sex marriage are (hugely) out-reproducing those in favour.

Furthermore, (like celibacy) the faster that the same sex marriage meme spreads, the more rapidly will conditions change to cause its self-extinction.

It looks as if, like atheism, favouring same-sex marriage is maladaptive (ie. associated with below replacement levels of fertility).

This is just one of the many behaviours contributing to the fact that high IQ is maladaptive under modern conditions; perhaps (as suggested by Satoshi Kanazawa) due to the intrinsic tendency of high IQ people to engage in anti-biological types of evolutionary novelty?

Stopped Clock said...

Obama has failed to distinguish himself from Bush on so many issues so far, that I don't think he's going to give up on gay marriage even though he supposedly was against it when he ran the campaign.

Short list of issues in which the Obama administration has fallen back on Bush-like policies despite earlier promising a clean break:

Pullout of troops from Iraq
Pullout of troops from Afghanistan
Treatment of Guantanamo prisoners
Not having Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General
Possibly no income tax hike on the rich
No 50-100 hours of forced community service for children and teens
No immediate and unconditional amnesty for illegals (though to be fair he never promised one afaik)
Possibly more things Im forgetting

Anonymous said...

Forget the demographics. All you need is five Supreme Court Justices and the issue is settled.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of defending Savage, it is more likely he meant that most homosexuals have no intention of marrying. That, at least, is a defensible proposition.

The Wall Street Journal has an interactive map of gay marriage laws, defense of marriage laws, and domestic partnership laws.

Does not look like a sea change in favor of gay marriage. Quite the opposite. The overwhelming majority of legislation has been in defense of marriage, all very recent.

TGGP said...

I remember coming across some libertarian blog complaining that gays weren't showing up for some rally in Australia for same-sex marriage. Some other wag said "Gays want to get married, not be married".

Also, Michael Savage has a background in alternative medicine? I guess it all makes sense now.

Audacious Epigone said...


Jewish Atheist has argued at Inductivist that socially conservative causes inevitably lose out as progressives move the cultural standards to the left. Same-sex marriage seems to be an example of that, but on other issues like abortion and capital punishment, the trends are hardly clear. And as you insinuate, as the proportion of the population that is secular white continues to drop, supporters of same-sex marriage might just be enjoying a fleeting spike.


Hmm, I'd think the politically expedient thing for him to do would be to simply be mum about it, but I guess we'll see.


Inductivist has shown you're correct (I can't find the post at the moment, sorry), although I didn't get the impression at all that Savage was arguing as much.


Expound on that. I don't think I'm following.

BGC said...

AE said: "Jewish Atheist has argued at Inductivist that socially conservative causes inevitably lose out as progressives move the cultural standards to the left."

I think what has happened is a by-product of the US IQ meritocracy, which (as described in The Bell Curve) really began to bite during the 1950s (in the BC they use SAT scores to show how the average Harvard undergraduate rapidly became more intelligent; and how it went from being a college for mostly rich kids with a few smart ones, to the opposite).

High IQ enables, indeed compels, people to think in a domain general and abstract way about many matters which are also spontaneously decided by rapid, evolved, unconscious modules.

In our unnatural word (differing from hunter gatherer conditions, or from stable long term agrarian conditions in some cases) this gives high IQ people some advantages in dealing with evolutionary novelty, and some disadvantages when they inappropriately apply abstract reasoning to matters which are better dealt-with by evolved 'instincts'.

Once this high IQ meritocracy worked through into positions of power over the next couple of decades (starting around the late 1960s), we saw the emergence of high IQ, anti-biological political correctness - whereby high IQ is signalled or advertized by the ability to construct and defend arguments that deny the 'obvious' (in which the 'obvious' is defined in terms of the evolutionarily familiar).

Becuase the high IQ ruling class is now almost undiluted and can almost avoid communication with any others or feedback or checks from these others, the extreme nature of these anti-biological signals just gets stronger and stronger.

For example, high IQ PC discourse routinely regards religion as weird and atheism as the natural, spontaneous default state - and tries to 'explain' religiousness. It regards conservative political views (held by the vast majority of people throughout almost all recorded history) as the result of some sinister motivations that are probably pathological. And so on...

Now, nothing is too absurd for smart people to believe or say, just so long as other smart people believe and say it too; and so long as the absurd belief or behaviour signals independence from our common evolved biological heritage.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

Jewish Atheist has argued at Inductivist that socially conservative causes inevitably lose out as progressives move the cultural standards to the left.

JA's logic sounds questionable.

It is not always the case that socially conservative causes lose.

Take gun control. The Democrats pushed hard for gun control in the 80's and early 90's but the Republicans, NRA, Gun Owners of America, and related organizations beat the Democrats up pretty badly over the issue throughout the 90's.

The Democrats got hurt being anti-gun so much that today they are much less inclined to run on a gun control platform.

Audacious Epigone said...


So in their morally posturing status games, high IQ elites are driving themselves toward extinction?

I'm perplexed as to whether or not it is conscious. Do these elites believe some of these anti-evolutionary explanations, or is there little dissonance because they're not taking any more seriously (intellectually) than other polite niceties are?


Yes, I can think of some other issues with which JA's train of thought, plausible as it might sound, derails. I'm going to try and put a post together on the subject using the GSS and the WVS.

Stopped Clock said...

I think the joke TGGP was making is that gay men, stereotypically, are so fond of lavish parties and fashionable costumes and all that that they would have a wedding with every partner whether they planned to stay with him or not. Or did you mean the alternative medicine thing? I don't know much about that.

David said...

Interesting post. I would have never have come to these conclusions. Definitely given me some food for thought. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Some x % of the population is gay. Of that some fraction wants to marry. Certainly that is less than 1% of the population. So 99% don't have a dog in the fight. Were it not for the media promoting the issue day and night, any politician mentioning it would be considered insane. It is so profoundly inconsequential. I can't help but laugh. How did we ever become so inane and easily lead? Haven't we enough real problems? California is bankrupt, but is embroiled in gay marriage. Certainly that rivals Nero fiddling as Rome burns for misordered priorities.

Audacious Epigone said...


Yes, I was referring to the remark about alternative medicine.


Lumping bisexuals in with homosexuals, Inductivist found that those who want to get married represent a whopping 1.04% of the US adult population. So as you say, gays who want to get married indeed represent less than 1% of the total.