“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” - Mark Twain
According to a new Pew Center poll, support for gay marriage dropped slightly between February and September of this year, from 54 percent to 49 percent.
That is a statistic that could be used to draw some interesting conclusion, if one were inclined to do so. And Maggie Gallagher is inclined to do so.
Gallagher is often cited as a “conservative columnist”. She is associated with the National Organization for Marriage, an outfit that sounds like it might do event planning, but actually spends most of its time trying to stop people from getting married — gay people, that is.
Writing in the National Review Online, Maggie Gallagher crunched the Pew numbers and announced her summary analysis that support for gay marriage did not just fall, but is falling, and that the nation has Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson to thank for it.
“[S]omething happened over the last year to give traditional Christians second thoughts about what gay marriage would mean,” wrote Gallagher. “What could that be?
“The most likely candidate is A&E’s decision to suspend Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, after he expressed, rather colorfully, rather standard orthodox Christian views on gay sex.”
Gallagher is referring to Robertson’s GQ interview in which he expressed disbelief that a man could actually prefer another man’s anus over a woman’s vagina. He further backed up his stance in a sermon soon thereafter, listing what some see as biblical condemnations against homosexuality and other sins.
What Gallagher does not point out, but that the Pew publication noted, is that the polling “finds a slight drop in support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry, with 49% of Americans in favor and 41% opposed – a 5-point dip in support from a February Pew Research poll, but about the same level as in 2013.”
Gallagher does mention Salon writer Gabriel Arana’s point that, "It seems pretty likely support for gay marriage is leveling off; you simply can’t expect it to jump 10 percentage points every two years. But it’s unlikely that the trend line is dipping. Individual poll results matter less than they do in the aggregate, and this is the only one thus far showing support for marriage equality dropping. It may very well be an outlier.”
Gallagher expresses her view that pressure in mainstream society to label anti-gay marriage advocates as “bigots” has caused vocal opposition to quiet down. Gallagher insists that Christians should only support political candidates who are still willing to be vocal about where they stand on the issue.
"If you are one of the people who actually care about these issues — for whom protecting life, marriage, and religious liberty is not a political strategy but a reason for being in politics — the candidates’ silence will hurt your cause. You donate to or otherwise support candidates who adopt a mute strategy at your own peril.”