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Hullabaloo


Friday, April 12, 2013

 
Good news and bad news

by digby

The latest polling:

Fifty-three percent of respondents favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, which is up 2 points since the NBC/WSJ survey last asked this question in December, though that increase is within the poll’s margin of error.

Forty-two percent oppose gay marriage – also up 2 points since late last year.
By party, 73 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents back gay marriage, while 66 percent of Republicans oppose it...

The poll also finds that 63 percent of respondents believe the federal government should recognize same-sex marriages in states where they are legal, and 56 percent think that the question of allowing gay marriage should be left to a federal standard rather than to the states.

This is great news. It shows just how fast things can change in our culture and it's pretty amazing. Unfortunately, when it comes to women's rights, we seem to either be stuck or going in the wrong direction:

At the same time that general support for gay marriage has increased – albeit within the margin of error – so has opposition to abortion.

According to the survey, a combined 52 percent say that abortion should be illegal either with exceptions or without them, versus a combined 45 percent who say it should be legal either “always” or “most of the time.”

This is a reversal from the NBC/WSJ poll in January, when a majority – for the first time – said abortion should be legal in some form or fashion.

The poll also gauges public sentiment on other questions involving social and moral issues.
Asked to choose what should be a more important goal for society – either promoting greater respect for traditional values or encouraging greater tolerance – 50 percent picked traditional values, and 44 selected greater tolerance.

That’s a significant change from when this question was last asked in 1999, when 60 percent chose traditional values and 29 percent sided with tolerance.

That's awesome. Except that there are millions and millions who are just as intolerant as ever:

Notably, this movement toward tolerance comes from Democrats and self-described independents – but not from Republicans. (In 1999, 76 percent of Republicans said promoting traditional values was a more important goal vs. 77 percent say that now.)

For all their talk about moderating their tone, the Republicans know which side their bread is buttered on:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) argued in a speech to activists Thursday night that robust opposition to abortion rights is crucial to the GOP's political chances.

Ryan's remarks to the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List gala were his most extended on abortion since the 2012 election cycle, when several GOP candidates lost following controversial remarks on abortion and rape.
Ryan, the former GOP vice presidential nominee, acknowledged that a "careless remark or an ugly sign" can damage the cause against abortion rights "in an instant."

But he challenged the view that Republicans should soften their approach in order to attract centrist or female voters, who favored President Obama by more than 10 points in November.

"Our critics say we should abandon our pro-life beliefs. But that would only demoralize our voters," Ryan said. "It’s an odd strategy, I think: the cynical ploy followed by the thumping defeat."

Never let it be said that he is "intolerant" however. He is certainly willing to compromise on issues that that don't exist:

But on Thursday night, Ryan encouraged activists to seek out areas of possible collaboration with their opponents.

"People who consider themselves pro-choice don’t agree with us on everything," he told the audience.

"But many agree we should stop taxpayer funding of abortion … Many agree we should require parental notification."

Ryan gave the example of former Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), a centrist abortion-rights supporter who sided with his more-conservative peers on some abortion votes.

"Last year, he lost to a Democrat who today is another down-the-line, pro-choice stalwart in the House," he said. "Dold was an ally of our cause. We need to work with others like him."

"Our task isn't to purge our ranks. It's to grow them," Ryan added.

There isn't any taxpayer funded abortion by the way, at least on a federal level. That's courtesy of the Hyde Amendment which Obamacare, via Democrat Bart Stupak and friends, managed to get permanently codified (after a 30 year battle.) Huzzah.

I would just warn women to watch their backs. When Republicans begin this kind of "outreach" you can be sure that the Third Way "common ground", anti-choice Democrats will be scurrying to make "deals" that will restrict your right to own your own body. We've been here before.

But the movement on gay rights is a big advance and it's wonderful to see that tolerance can so quickly flow into our culture and become status quo. But as the fight for women's rights show they're never fully safe. When you have tens of millions of people who believe that your human rights are immoral, vigilance is called for.

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