Thursday, June 28, 2007

Public Shifting on Facts About Sexual Orientation

There are some kinds of questions that can be answered with a survey or poll -- questions like, What proportion of the people believe X? -- and there are questions that can't be answered no matter what, and there are questions that have real answers. But you can still ask people what they think the answer is, even if you already know. Think of it as Jay Leno's Jaywalking. Like, you saw this one the other day, right? Forty-one percent of people still think Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for 9/11, you saw that, right? So you put the two kinds of questions together and you get a kind of measure of how informed/ignorant the population is.

I think of it as a measure of leadership and education, I guess. Are people being given accurate information? Are they well enough educated to make critical distinctions? You can't really blame people for not keeping up, there're only so many hours in a day, nobody can study every issue that comes up. If you give people accurate facts and good concepts for reasoning they'll come to the right conclusions, but lacking either of those we're in trouble. And lately ... we're lacking.

So this is interesting:
(CNN) -- A majority of Americans believe that gays and lesbians could not change their sexual orientation even if they wanted to, according to results of a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday.

It's the first time in a CNN poll the majority has held that belief regarding homosexuality.

Fifty-six percent of about 515 poll respondents said they do not believe sexual orientation can be changed. In 2001, 45 percent of those responding to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll held that belief. In 1998, according to a CNN/Time poll, the number was 36 percent.

In addition, 42 percent of respondents to the current poll said they believe homosexuality results from upbringing and environment, while 39 percent said they believe it is something a person is born with -- a close division that reflects the national debate over the issue.

However, those numbers are greatly changed from the 1970s and '80s, in which fewer than 20 percent of Americans said a person is born homosexual. In a 1977 poll, the number was 13 percent. Poll majority: Gays' orientation can't change

This is a major sea-change in just a couple of decades. Major.

Funny thing, what do you think? I'm guessing that the PFOXes of the world, by making everybody stop and think about these questions, got them to realize that it just didn't make sense to say sexual orientation could change. Like, why would anybody choose to be harassed and teased, beat up on the street and discriminated against everywhere they went? If you think about it, you realize it just doesn't make sense -- but that's the deal, you have to think about it. Before, like when I was a kid, when we had the old crank-handled video games before electricity, it was a kind of thing you heard mentioned a little bit, nothing was ever really explained, so you just believed what your buddies told you, which they got from their buddies. Nobody knew anything, actually, and we never gave it much thought.

And now, the Nutty Ones put it on the front burner, trying to polarize the country around the issue, and as people think about it, they're deciding for themselves.
Ten percent in the latest poll said they believe both factors play a role in someone's homosexuality. Three percent said neither, and 6 percent had no opinion.

Isn't that interesting?

On the question of gay marriage, 43 percent of respondents in May said they would not support same-sex marriage or civil unions, which provide many, if not most, of the same legal protections as marriage. Twenty-four percent said they supported same-sex marriage, while 27 percent opted for civil unions.

But a majority of poll respondents -- 57 percent -- said gay and lesbian couples should have the legal right to adopt children. Forty percent said they should not.

Marriage, civil union, I don't know, but they need something -- most people agree with that.

It's nice to see people coming around to our way of seeing things.


Blogger rx7ward said...

Funny, when I read that CNN poll, the thought I had was, "Who cares what people think? This is a question that can be answered only through scientific exploration, not through an opinion poll." Did it used to be true that people could change, because most people believed it was a choice? But now it's not true anymore, because most believe it can't be changed? No.

I guess my point is, it's either changeable or not, and no poll is going to answer the question. It's heartening to know attitudes are changing, but CNN seems to be pandering to the ignorant and intellectually lazy population with this one ...

June 28, 2007 4:14 PM  

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