Monday, May 21, 2012

Predictors of support for gay marriage

Audacious Epigone has a great post on attitudes toward gay marriage. It made me wonder what best predicts support (sample size = 3,399, GSS, blacks and whites):

OLS standardized regression coefficients

Age -.11*
Sex .14*
Race -.02
Size of place .02
IQ .08*
Education .18*
Income -.01
Church attendance -.30*

*statistically significant

Irreligiosity is clearly the stongest predictor of support. Education, being young, and being female are in the middle, and a high IQ is the weakest significant predictor. Race, the size of your town, and income don't matter.

UPDATE: If I add political orientation to the model, there are two noteworthy changes: 1) being liberal becomes the strongest predictor of support, and 2) race becomes significant. When you remove the influence of liberalism, blacks become signficantly less supportive of gay marriage than whites.


Anonymous said...

Liberals believe that marriage is oudated, regressive, conformist, patriarchal, sexist, superstitious and bad. That it's better for couples to not form families, not have children, not be religious and to invest in non-reproductive non-monogamous relationships. Yet marriage all of the sudden marriage becomes about equality and a human rights crusade when it comes to homosexuals. Any contradiction here? Yes. Liberals are huge hypocrites. The same people who think that marriage is worthless are the same ones who shout like banshees about "gay marriage".

pat said...

There are obviously two elements in the concept of gay marriage: homosexuality and the institution of marriage.

There are also a host of associated issues that are connected to those two elements. Among these are religion, intelligence and compassion.

For most people even today homosexuality is something of a mystery. I have tried to clear this up by explaining the infectious theory (T. Gondii in the mother) but as yet this explanation hasn't been widely appreciated. It may be wrong as to the specific infectious agent responsible but it is likely to be close.

Religion flourishes where there is mystery and ignorance. That's why Darwin was so important. The smartest men of the age like our Founding Fathers accepted creationism because there was no alternative explanation for the question - Where did we come from?

Similarly today people attribute gayness to God's Will. This is not just among those who oppose homosexuality, many gay theorists consider homosexuality to be a blessing from God. Gay men have many times as many sex encounters as normal uninfected men. This convinces them that God favors them. Wasn't it Franklin who suggested that beer was proof that God loves us?

When religion was more important, Savonarola used to burn gay men at the stake. He considered it a form of heresy. Compassionate people - like many women - were opposed to such treatment but of course women's opinions didn't count on political matters until quite recently. We as a rich society can afford compassion. Even the most loathsome criminals like child moslesters who break in a home, kidnap and murder a young kid are defended and protected. This indulgence of compassion is unprecented and only possible in a society as rich and stable as our own. So it's not surprising that there is a lot of modern day compassion for homosexuality. After all gay men are not particularly troublesome or criminal. If you group people into classes by bad behavior, gay men don't rank very high. They don't deserve the persecution they have long been subject to based on their actual behavior.

Finally more intelligent people are likely to avoid oppressing gays because they have a sense that all the evidence isn't in yet. The more ignorant you are the more certain you are.

That's the gay side. Marriage used to be a secular institution in Rome before Christainity. There were several different kinds of marriage for differing class status and property class. Only with Christianity did marriage become a matter involving God.

Legally of course God has nothing to do with it in America but still many associate marriage with a divine sanction. This heavenly connection remains the strongest impediment to gay marriage.

We are like the people before Pasteur and Koch explained the germ theory of TB. Even the brightest people held fantastic theories. Vampires were one of those theories for consumption. All of that got swept away and now is an embarrassment. Similarly when the effect of T. Gondii is recognized, most of the ideas about marriage, God and Gays will be seen as silly.


Anonymous said...


I am not opposed to gay marriage because of any religious beliefs. I believe the germ theory of gay male homosex, but even if a pathogen is not the trigger, I do believe male homosex is the result of a biological phenomenon, one which is beyond any choice.

And, I do oppose gay marriage. There are many ways that society can address the problems gays gripe about w/out changing the definition of marriage and the unintended consequences that will occur from such a change.

pat said...


I don't favor gay marriage. I just don't think this is much of an issue one way or the other.

Marriage is an institution created to stabilize society. The simplest form of marriage was when a man publicly acknowledged that this woman was his woman. He took responsibility for her support and the support of any children that resulted from their union. It protected the children and it protected the women. Normal people are strongly attracted to each other and children result. If couples have sex in secret the man can disavow the progeny. This is actually a good reproductive strategy for the individual father but a terrible strategy for the group. Marriage is a way to enlist men to work for child raising.

Only recently have women in any society had the resources to raise a child without the resources of a man. Marriage is one way to tie the father's resources to his kids.

But gay sex isn't really sex in the biological sense at all, and since marriage is primarily an institution to accomplish the very serious purpose of linking the father's economic resources to resulting children - the whole of idea of gay marriage is a non-serious issue. You don't get more and better raised children by instituting marriage among gays. So gay marriage is an irrelevance. Gays are dead biologically, they don't reproduce. If they are killed or enslaved or subsidized it doesn't much matter. Currently we are allowing gay men to live, participate in the general economy and keep the wages of what they earn. Fine, but it doesn't matter. A society that kills too many of its child bearing women is a society that soon disappears. But a society can kill off its gays and there are few consequences.

Gay men like those in the "Sacred Band" have been good soldiers but otherwise have are biologically irrelevant. Many societies have killed gays with no serious consequences.

The most important thing any society can do is reproduce. Until very recently resources were very, very scarce. It was vital that a man's resources not be wasted on anything other than the support of the next generation. Most of us can remember when everyone was comfortable with men making more money than women for exactly the same work. It was assumed that the married man was using his wages for family support while a working woman was likely a single woman who didn't need the money because she wasn't raising kids. Often of course that assumption wasn't true but the wage inequality between the sexes was done for the best of reasons. It was "for the kids".

But now we have seven billion people. We aren't worried much anymore about maintaining the population so we can indulge in such odd notions as gay marriage.

The argument for gay marriage today is equity, and I don't worry about equity very much. Equity simply isn't a serious concern. It is too subjective. A serious concern of society should be continuity. Society needs reproduction. If it can continue itself it doesn't matter very much if there is interpersonal equity - whatever that may mean.

The most stable societies have been the Egyptians and the Chinese. Neither of them were models of social equity. Gay marriage is a bagatelle, a whim, an irrelevance.


Dr. Anonymous said...

Race is clearly a factor in the US. Did you not see the PEW graph that broke down the same sex marriage support by race? African Americans are still mostly opposed, while only 10% of Asians are against same sex marriage. Even though there is a significant increase in support for gay marriage (20% increase since 2008) most blacks are still against it.

Anonymous said...

Gay men like those in the "Sacred Band" have been good soldiers but otherwise have are biologically irrelevant. Many societies have killed gays with no serious consequences.

A lot of the stuff about the sacred band is propaganda. Sort of like the propaganda that asserts how all these famous historical figures were gay.

Anonymous said...

There was a pastor in North Carolina who recently gave a sermon about how he would put all the homosexuals in camps with electric fences and drop in food, and how they would eventually all die out since they can't reproduce.

Anderson Cooper, who's widely believed to be gay, had a one of the pastor's church members on his show to discuss the sermon. The member said that she agreed that they would eventually die out under those circumstances. Cooper disputed this claim and asked the member that wouldn't gays still be around, since gays are born of heterosexual couples all the time.

Here's the video:

What was interesting about this is that currently the official dogma is that people are "born gay", that it's innate, genetic, etc. Cooper, as a homosexual, PC guy, mainstream media figure, etc., would no doubt agree with this. And yet by denying that all the homosexuals would die out, he was in effect arguing that it may be an environmental thing.

Anonymous said...

God? Doesn't exist or existence is unsure.

Gender? A social contrusct. There are no sex differences.

Race? Doesn't exist. Not innate.

Sexual orientation? That's INNATE! Totally IMMUTABLE.

We live in a degenerate society: the modern world, there up is down and down is up. Our society discounts ANYTHING non-environmental and certainty except for the homosexuals.

Anonymous said...

But gay sex isn't really sex in the biological sense at all

Good point. There is no such thing as "gay sex". That's why it used to be called sodomy. Sodomy is not sex. It is a perversion of sex. The term "gay sex" is a perversion of the biological term "sex".

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