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Ten Years After Amendment Two: Colorado Voter Attitudes on Gay Rights American Association of Public Opinion Research May 2004 Phoenix, Arizona Ciruli.

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Presentation on theme: "Ten Years After Amendment Two: Colorado Voter Attitudes on Gay Rights American Association of Public Opinion Research May 2004 Phoenix, Arizona Ciruli."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ten Years After Amendment Two: Colorado Voter Attitudes on Gay Rights American Association of Public Opinion Research May 2004 Phoenix, Arizona Ciruli Associates  1490 Lafayette St. #208  Denver, CO  PH (303)  FAX (303)  Presentation Floyd Ciruli

2 2 Background Colorado voters approved Amendment 2 by 53 percent to 47 percent on November 3, The constitutional amendment banned the state of Colorado or any division of local government from adopting or enforcing policies to protect the rights of homosexuals, lesbians or bisexuals. It reversed local anti-discrimination ordinances in Aspen, Boulder and Denver. July 19, 1993, Colorado Supreme Court affirmed a grant of preliminary injunction against amendment. December 14, 1993, Judge H. Jeffrey Bayless granted permanent injunction. Evans vs. Romer, Colorado Supreme Court affirmed trial court’s decision (1994) May 20, 1996, U.S. Supreme Court struck down (6 − 3) Amendment 2 as unconstitutional. “A state cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws,” Justice Anthony Kennedy Romer vs. Evans, 116 S. Ct (1996) Slide 2

3 3 The Ballot Language Amendment 2 Shall there be an amendment to Article II of the Colorado Constitution to prohibit the State of Colorado and any of its political subdivisions from adopting or enforcing any law or policy which provides that homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct, or relationships constitutes or entitles a person to claim any minority or protected status, quota preferences, or discrimination? Slide 3

4 4 Statewide Anti-gay Initiatives 1) Repeal existing local protections/prevent future protections 2) Adopt new restrictions on gay rights 1 Colorado/1992Colorado for Family Values53% 1 Idaho/1994Idaho Citizens Alliance49% 1 Maine/1995Concerned Maine Families47% 1 Oregon/1994Oregon Citizens Alliance44% 2 Oregon/1992Oregon Citizens Alliance43% State/Year Sponsor Election Results Direct Democracy and Gay Rights Initiatives After Romer, in The Politics of Gay Rights, 2000 Slide 4

5 5 Recent Colorado Political History 1986Roy Romer elected governor (Democrat) Tim Wirth elected senator (Democrat) 1988Tax limitation amendment defeated 1990Romer re-elected Term limits approved Tax limitation defeated 1992Clinton won state Ben Nighthorse Campbell elected senator (Democrat) Tax limits and gay rights limits approved Vouchers defeated 1994Romer re-elected 1996Dole won state Wayne Allard elected senator (Republican) 1998Bill Owens elected governor (Republican) 2000Bush won state Slide 5

6 6 Amendment 2 Election Results and Follow-up Poll Question: If you could vote today on Amendment 2, how would you vote, “yes” or “no”? Ciruli Associates, N426, 1993 Election Day Nov Follow-up Poll Feb Slide 6

7 7 Data Sources 1993 post-election survey – February 1993 statewide survey of 426 registered voters (±4.3 percentage points). Election data from November 1992 general election baseline survey – September-December 2002 telephone survey conducted for Gill Foundation – Computer generated random stratified sample of 900 adult Colorado residents who are registered voters (±3.3 percentage points) 2003 follow-up survey – August 2003 statewide survey of 600 registered voters (±3.8 percentage points) conducted for Ciruli Associates Statewide public opinion research with Colorado voters. Slide 7

8 8 Findings Colorado voters passed Amendment 2 despite progressive views on gay rights and a moderate political culture Colorado voters favor gay legal rights in 1993, 2002 and 2003 Colorado voter support for legal rights equals or exceeds national opinion Colorado voters have less moral reservations concerning gay sexual relations than national opinion Colorado voters are more hospitable toward gay rights in 2002 than 1993, a trend similar to national opinion Colorado voters state they would not pass a new gay rights limit in 2002 Like national opinion, Colorado voters do not support gay marriage; support for legal rights declined from 2002 to 2003 Slide 8

9 9 Colorado Voters and Legality of Homosexual Relations Ciruli Associates, N900, 2002 Ciruli Associates, N426, 1993 Colorado Voters Question: Do you believe homosexual relations between two consenting adults in the privacy of their own home should be legal or illegal? Slide 9

10 10 National Polls and Legality of Homosexual Relations National Surveys Gallup, N1002, 1992 Gallup, 2002 Legal48%52% Not legal4443 Don’t know 8 5 Gallup 1992 Gallup 2002 Question: Do you think homosexual relations between two consenting adults should or should not be legal? Slide 10

11 11 Colorado Voters and Morality of Homosexual Relations Colorado Voters Ciruli Associates, N600, 2003 Ciruli Associates, N900, 2002 Always morally wrong50%36% Almost always morally wrong 4 6 Sometimes morally wrong 5 9 Not morally wrong at all2841 Don’t know Question: Do you believe sexual relations between two consenting adults of the same sex is: Slide 11

12 12 National Polls and Morality of Homosexual Behavior NORC-GSS, N1606, 1993 NORC-GSS, N2832, 2002 Always wrong66%53% Almost always wrong 4 5 Sometimes wrong 7 7 Not wrong at all2232 NORC-GSS 1993 NORC-GSS 2002 National Surveys Question: What about sexual relations between two adults of the same sex…do you think it is: Slide 12

13 13 Support and Opposition for Anti-Gay Rights Ballot Initiative Question:Ignoring any constitutional issues, if a similar proposal was on the ballot today, that is, an initiative that would ban Colorado’s local or state governments from enacting statutes or ordinances that protected gay rights, would you vote in favor or against? Question:As I mentioned, in 1992 residents voted on a ballot issue in Colorado that prevented cities, towns and the state from enacting civil rights protections based on homosexuality. It was referred to as Amendment 2. Ignoring any constitutional issues, if such a ban on gay civil rights protections was on the ballot today, would you support or oppose the ban? Anti-Gay Rights Initiative Colorado Voters Here in 1992 Anti-Gay Rights Initiative New Voters Since 1992 Ciruli Associates N688, 2002 Ciruli Associates N212, 2002 Slide 13

14 14 Amendment 2 Demographic Comparison— If You Could Vote Today on Amendment 2 Slide 14 Total48%44%34%54%(14%) Men Women Democrat Republican Unaffiliated High school or less College grad Support OpposeSupportOppose N426, Feb N688, Dec Difference in Support

15 15 The Ads—Special Rights Pro Amendment 2 advertisement Voice 1: Boy, this is going to be a crazy election. Voice 2: Yeah, what about this Amendment 2? I don’t have anything against homosexuals, but how am I supposed to vote? Voice 1: I’m voting yes on Amendment 2. A yes on Amendment 2 makes good sense for Colorado. Yes…we want to protect our children. Yes…we want to protect our churches and businesses. Yes…we want to protect our freedom of speech. And, yes…we want to protect civil rights by not confusing legitimate minorities with sexual practices. That’s why yes on Amendment 2 makes good sense for Colorado. Homosexuals enjoy the same rights as other law-abiding citizens…but they’ve been writing “special” rights into our laws…and that’s not fair! Yes on Amendment 2 allows homosexuals to have equal rights, but not special rights. Voice 2: OK, I think I’ve got it. Homosexuals have equal rights; they want special rights. That’s not fair. I’m voting yes on Amendment 2. Colorado for Family Values Slide 15

16 16 Special Rights or Equal Rights? Question:In general, do you think gays and lesbians are seeking special rights or are they seeking equal rights compared to other citizens? Question:In general, do gays and lesbians have equal rights or not have equal rights in Colorado today? Do Gays and Lesbians Want Special Rights or Equal Rights? Do Gays and Lesbians Have or Not Have Equal Rights? Ciruli Associates N900, 2002 Slide 16

17 17 Religious Attitudes and Behavior and Special or Equal Rights Church more than once a week69%23% Born again6430 Literal word of God (Bible)6330 Mormon5235 Church once a week 5242 Religion very important5043 Protestant4946 Christian4747 Not literal word of God (Bible)4551 Catholic4452 Colorado average43%51% Not born again4253 Religion fairly important3561 Religion not very important3460 Few times a year church3363 Never attend church2868 Written by men (Bible)2768 Special rightsEqual rights Ciruli Associates, N900, 2002 Slide 17

18 18 Why It Passed 1)Moral ambivalence 2)Framed as special vs. equal rights 3)Exceedingly angry year (500,000 more votes than 1990) Perot voters send a message. Middle and working class Democrats in anti-tax, anti-establishment revolt 4)New conservative power centers and growing grassroots movement; anti-tax, non-government schools. Strong under- radar campaign 5)Liberal/moderate power structure distracted Slide 18

19 19 Hierarchy of Protection of Specific Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Question: Next, I’d like to focus on what, if any, civil rights should apply to gay and lesbian citizens. As I read the following list, please tell me if you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the following rights for gays and lesbians. Strongly Oppose Strongly Support Somewhat Support Somewhat Oppose Legal protection for: Ciruli Associates N900, 2002 Slide 19

20 20 Same-Sex Relations and Gay Marriage— Legal or Not Legal? Ciruli Associates, N600, Aug Colorado Voters 2003 Same-sex relations Question: In general, do you think sexual relations between two consenting adults of the same sex should be legal or not legal? Question: Do you believe the state of Colorado should or should not legally recognize gay and lesbian marriage, that is marriage between adults of the same sex? Same-sex marriage Colorado voters Slide 20


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