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Ten Years After Amendment Two: Colorado Voter Attitudes on Gay Rights 1992-2002 Presentation

Floyd Ciruli

American Association of Public Opinion Research May 2004 Phoenix, Arizona

Ciruli Associates  1490 Lafayette St. #208 Denver, CO 80218  PH (303) 399-3173  FAX (303) 399-3147  www.ciruli.com

Slide 2

Background Colorado voters approved Amendment 2 by 53 percent to 47 percent on November 3, 1992. 

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. 1620 (1996) 2

www.ciruli.com

Slide 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?

3

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Slide 4

Statewide Anti-gay Initiatives State/Year 1 1 1 1

2

Sponsor

Election Results

Colorado/1992 Idaho/1994 Maine/1995 Oregon/1994

Colorado for Family Values Idaho Citizens Alliance Concerned Maine Families Oregon Citizens Alliance

53% 49% 47% 44%

Oregon/1992

Oregon Citizens Alliance

43%

Direct Democracy and Gay Rights Initiatives After Romer, in The Politics of Gay Rights, 2000 1) Repeal

existing local protections/prevent future protections 2) Adopt new restrictions on gay rights

4

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Slide 5

Recent Colorado Political History 1986 1988

Roy Romer elected governor (Democrat) Tim Wirth elected senator (Democrat) Tax limitation amendment defeated

1990

Romer re-elected Term limits approved Tax limitation defeated

1992

Clinton won state Ben Nighthorse Campbell elected senator (Democrat) Tax limits and gay rights limits approved Vouchers defeated

1994

Romer re-elected

1996

Dole won state Wayne Allard elected senator (Republican)

1998

Bill Owens elected governor (Republican)

2000

Bush won state 5

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Amendment 2 Election Results and Follow-up Poll Election Day Nov. 1992

Slide 6

Follow-up Poll Feb. 1993

53% 47%

48% 44%

8%

Yes

No

Don't know

Question: If you could vote today on Amendment 2, how would you vote, “yes” or “no”? Ciruli Associates, N426, 1993 6

www.ciruli.com

Slide 7

Data Sources Statewide public opinion research with Colorado voters. 

1993 post-election survey –





February 1993 statewide survey of 426 registered voters (±4.3 percentage points). Election data from November 1992 general election.

2002 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

7

www.ciruli.com

Slide 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 8

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Colorado Voters and Legality of Homosexual Relations

Slide 9

Colorado Voters 1993-2002 86% 71%

12%

Legal

9%

Illegal

1993

12% 5%

Don' t know

2002

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

www.ciruli.com

Slide 10

National Polls and Legality of Homosexual Relations National Surveys 1992-2002 Gallup 1992

Gallup 2002

48% 44 8

52% 43 5

Legal Not legal Don’t know

Question: Do you think homosexual relations between two consenting adults should or should not be legal? Gallup, N1002, 1992 Gallup, 2002

10

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Slide 11

Colorado Voters and Morality of Homosexual Relations Colorado Voters 1993-2002 1993

2002

Always morally wrong

50%

36%

Almost always morally wrong Sometimes morally wrong Not morally wrong at all Don’t know

4 5 28 13

6 9 41 9

Question: Do you believe sexual relations between two consenting adults of the same sex is: Ciruli Associates, N600, 2003 Ciruli Associates, N900, 2002 11

www.ciruli.com

Slide 12

National Polls and Morality of Homosexual Behavior National Surveys 1993-2002 NORC-GSS 1993

NORC-GSS 2002

Always wrong

66%

53%

Almost always wrong Sometimes wrong Not wrong at all

4 7 22

5 7 32

Question: What about sexual relations between two adults of the same sex…do you think it is: NORC-GSS, N1606, 1993 NORC-GSS, N2832, 2002

12

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Slide 13 Support and Opposition for Anti-Gay Rights Ballot Initiative Anti-Gay Rights Initiative Colorado Voters Here in 1992

Anti-Gay Rights Initiative New Voters Since 1992

Don't Know 5% Other 7%

Don't Know 8% Other 9% Support 34%

Support 35%

Oppose 54% Question:

Oppose 48% 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? Ciruli Associates N212, 2002

Ciruli Associates N688, 2002

13

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Amendment 2 Demographic Comparison—1993-2002

Slide 14

If You Could Vote Today on Amendment 2 1993 Support Oppose

2002 Support Oppose

Difference in Support

Total

48%

44%

34%

54%

Men

55

39

37

53

18

Women

43

48

32

56

11

Democrat

30

60

27

64

3

Republican

63

31

41

46

22

Unaffiliated

50

42

33

52

17

High school or less

57

37

33

54

24

College grad

44

48

31

57

13

N426, Feb. 1993

(14%)

N688, Dec. 2002

14

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Slide 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

15

www.ciruli.com

Special Rights or Equal Rights?

Do Gays and Lesbians Have or Not Have Equal Rights?

Do Gays and Lesbians Want Special Rights or Equal Rights? Don't Know 6%

Seeking Equal Rights 51%

Question:

Slide 16

Don't Know 9%

Seeking Special Rights 43%

Have Equal Rights 53%

Don't Have Equal Rights 37%

Question:

In general, do you think gays and lesbians are seeking special rights or are they seeking equal rights compared to other citizens?

In general, do gays and lesbians have equal rights or not have equal rights in Colorado today?

Ciruli Associates N900, 2002 16

www.ciruli.com

Religious Attitudes and Behavior and Special or Equal Rights Special rights

Slide 17

Equal rights

Church more than once a week Born again Literal word of God (Bible) Mormon Church once a week Religion very important Protestant Christian Not literal word of God (Bible) Catholic

69% 64 63 52 52 50 49 47 45 44

23% 30 30 35 42 43 46 47 51 52

Colorado average

43%

51%

Not born again Religion fairly important Religion not very important Few times a year church Never attend church Written by men (Bible)

42 35 34 33 28 27

53 61 60 63 68 68 Ciruli Associates, N900, 2002

17

www.ciruli.com

Slide 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 underradar campaign 5) Liberal/moderate power structure distracted

18

www.ciruli.com

Slide 19 Hierarchy of Protection of Specific Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Legal protection for:

Somewhat Support

Strongly Support

Somewhat Oppose

Anti-housing discrimination

50%

25%

Anti-job discrimination

49%

27%

Benefits for partners

37%

Serve openly in military

37%

Partnerships

29%

Adopt children

28%

Marriage

25%

24%

21%

12% 10%

13%

8%

12%

22%

10% 9%

22%

9%

11%

27% 25%

Strongly Oppose

20% 31% 32%

41%

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. Ciruli Associates N900, 2002

19

www.ciruli.com

Slide 20

Same-Sex Relations and Gay Marriage— Legal or Not Legal? Colorado Voters 2003

Same-sex relations

Same-sex marriage

58% 56%

33%

26% 15%

11%

Legal

Not legal

Legally recognize

Don't know

Not legally recognize

Don't know

Colorado voters 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? Ciruli Associates, N600, Aug. 2003 20

www.ciruli.com

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