Sunday, January 4, 2009

 

Sodomy Laws and Pro-Israel Sentiment

There is indeed an issue on which citizens split almost evenly yet the leaders of both parties adopt identical lockstep positions: the legality of homosexual acts. That's my answer to a question of Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald:

Is there any other significant issue in American political life, besides Israel, where (a) citizens split almost evenly in their views, yet (b) the leaders of both parties adopt identical lockstep positions which leave half of the citizenry with no real voice?
The split in favor of sodomy laws is 40-55 in the latest Gallup poll, as shown in the chart here, down from 49-46 in 2003. Support for sodomy laws has stayed around 40% since 1977. Opposition has bounced around a lot, from 43% in 1977 to 57% in 1986, back to around 42% in 1997, up to 60% in early 2003, down to 46% a few months later, and up to 55% now. But clearly voters are divided. I don't hear any Democratic or Republican politicians calling for the return of sodomy laws, though (and it isn't just the Supreme Court's reversing itself on the issue; plenty of politicians oppose abortion).


Here's more from Sullivan and Greenwald, for reference: Andrew Sullivan, quoting Greenwald:
Leave aside the usual huffing and puffing. Can you answer this question for me:
Is there any other significant issue in American political life, besides Israel, where (a) citizens split almost evenly in their views, yet (b) the leaders of both parties adopt identical lockstep positions which leave half of the citizenry with no real voice? More notably still, is there any other position, besides Israel, where (a) a party's voters overwhelmingly embrace one position (Israel should not have attacked Gaza) but (b) that party's leadership unanimously embraces the exact opposite position (Israel was absolutely right to attack Gaza and the U.S. must support Israel unequivocally)? Does that happen with any other issue?
From Greenwald:
Not only does Rasmussen find that Americans generally "are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip" (44-41%, with 15% undecided), but Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive -- by a 24-point margin (31-55%). By stark constrast, Republicans, as one would expect (in light of their history of supporting virtually any proposed attack on Arabs and Muslims), overwhelmingly support the Israeli bombing campaign (62-27%).

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