This is a good example of why you should always check your sources carefully.
The "Family Institute", a local group of jittery religious conservatives, released a poll today. Some results:
76% of state residents want the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that would define marriage in Connecticut as the union of one man and one woman. An overwhelming majority of 78% agree that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. (Family Institute)
Gosh. It sounds like people in our state really, really don't like gay marriage.
But this poll is incredibly misleading. Here's why:
Firstly, the questions are confusing and tortured, seemingly designed to provoke the response the "Family" Institute wants. A few examples:
Do you agree or disagree that it is better for children to be raised in a household with both a mother and father? (WAIT FOR RESPONSE) And, is that strongly (agree/disagree) or somewhat (agree/disagree)?
On the surface, not a question about homosexuals at all. Yet how easy it is to turn it that way! 86% agreed. Another:
Do you agree or disagree that homosexuals and lesbians may have the right to choose their own personal relationships, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for an entire society? (WAIT FOR RESPONSE) And, is that strongly (agree/disagree) or somewhat (agree/disagree)? (boldface mine)
So. Homosexuals are "redefining marriage for an entire society," are they? Very provocative, and the leading phrase "homosexuals and lesbians have the right to choose their own personal relationships" is tricky. 63% agreed to this one.
Do you agree or disagree that if homosexual couples want to provide for each other, they can continue to do so through private arrangements already allowed under the law, such as a will, a health care proxy, insurance beneficiary, or joint ownership of property? (WAIT FOR RESPONSE) And, is that strongly (agree/disagree) or somewhat (agree/disagree)?
This has to be the most convoluted question of the bunch. On the surface, it sounds very good that homosexuals be allowed to do this for one another, but the sinister intent of the question is to accrue data that shows that homosexuals don't need marriage's legal rights. 63% of the by-now confused respondents agreed. And the most-cited question:
Do you agree or disagree that voters should have an opportunity to directly vote on a constitutional amendment that would determine whether or not to keep marriage in Connecticut the union of one man and one woman? (WAIT FOR RESPONSE) And, is that strongly (agree/disagree) or somewhat (agree/disagree)?
This isn't gauging support for an amendment, but only shows that 76% of people want to vote on it. Indeed, the question suggests that such an amendment is already in the works. If there's an amendment to the constitution being proposed, you bet I'd want to vote on it.
Lastly, here's why the entire poll is unreliable: Age. 73% of the respondents were over 40. 30% were over 60, while 10% were over 75.
This poll is heavily slanted towards older people. The U.S. Census shows that 13.8 percent of Connecticut residents were over 65 in 2000. 24 percent of people polled here were over 65.
This is a garbage poll and should not be trusted. There will be no anti-gay constitutional amendment in Connecticut, civil unions will happen, and life will go on.
You can find the poll at http://www.ctfamily.org/Harris%20Poll%20Feb%202005.doc. Go ahead and read it, and feel free to challenge my assessment.