Yesterday, the LA Times released an amazing poll of Californians' views on same sex marriage. One startling fact–from the gay point of view, at least–was 58 percent of female registered voters would vote “for” the anti-gay marriage ballot measure to ban queer unions. But only 43 percent of male registered voters made up that same response. Gay activists are probably shaking their heads right now, wondering if the pollsters at the Times got these numbers turned around–women are often assumed to be more gay-friendly. Apparently not in California.

A more disturbing thing about the poll, though, is the kind of questions that were asked. None of them address the role of the Religious Right in the ballot measure drive, and if they have public relations problems they will have to deal with.

The onus is completely on the gays, according to the Times, but surely registered voters must not be too thrilled with fundamentalist Christians trying to thrust their morals on state government? It's a poll that's begging to be done, and there are not many of them out there. In fact, as a reporter, I'm still looking for one.

Another fact about the poll, which happens so often with these things, is the schizophrenic nature of the replies. 59 percent of all respondents agree that “as long as two people are in love and committed to each other, it doesn't matter if they are a same-sex couple or heterosexual couple.” And only 39 percent of all respondents find same-sex relationships “morally wrong.” With these kinds of numbers, you'd figure voters would take the next logical step and say, ah, no, I won't vote for the amendment.

Maybe the order of the questions had something to do with this craziness. The ballot measure questions came first, with the questions about morals and love following them. If so, it obviously shows that once people are guided in a way to think things through, they usually come up with sensible conclusions. Before Californians get overwhelmed by nasty presidential politics this coming campaign season, gay activists may want to start an education program…pronto.

Tips? Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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