Thursday, October 29, 2009
The chart below gives a nice summary of state attitudes on gay rights issues, based on estimates from national polls. It’s from a new paper, by Jeffrey R. Lax and Justin H. Phillips, both of Columbia University, that was recently published in the American Political Science Review. (Methodology for the survey estimates is on page 32 here.)
Bubbles are placed to represent public opinion on a gay rights issue, with bubbles farther to the right indicating greater public support. For example, the red bubble on the line for California shows that slightly less than half of Californians say same-sex couples should have the right to marry.
Filled-in bubbles signify that the policy has been adopted in that state (either by legislative or judicial action). The red bubble for California, for example, is not filled in, indicating that gays in the state are not currently allowed to marry.Jeffrey R. Lax and Justin H. Phillips
So who is more liberal on gay issues: the public or the public servants who write and interpret law?
Let’s take a look at the graphic above, keeping an eye on the dashed vertical line in the middle that designates 50 percent support for any given policy. Bubbles to the right of that line have support from the majority of a state’s population; bubbles to the left of the line have support from less than half the state’s population.
Notice that there are many more unfilled bubbles on the right side of the line (representing policies that the majority of people support but that have not been put into effect) than there are filled bubbles on the left side of the line (representing policies that the majority of people do not support, but that have been implemented anyway).
I'm curious about how those states where a majority of the population supports a certain policy can encourage their policy makers to become more in tune with the population's beliefs.
It blows my mind that people can be care so much about the harmless actions of other people, so much so that they won't let them do something based on their personal beliefs. Maybe it is time for the people to enforce rational thoughts and policy on those nutcases. Even better force some irrational thoughts and policies on those nutcases. No hillbilly weddings. No hillbilly procreation.
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