Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just say no to the Affirmation Declaration Poll

I received this note today:
Dear Affirmation Declaration Supporter,

Please share your views on two important polls related to
same-sex marriage, which have just been added to the
Declaration website. Voting takes all of 10 seconds, so
please vote now.

God bless.
Pastor Romell Weekly
The Affirmation Declaration

However, upon clicking through to the poll - I discovered a disturbing set of questions:

One poll question: Would you support an everything-but-marriage legalization of same-sex civil unions?

Second poll question: How would you feel about a same-sex marriage law that required religious leaders to perform or otherwise recognize same-sex unions, even when against their conscience?

I cannot participate in a poll that offers these false choices. Marriage offers over 1300 benefits that, as NJ has discovered, cannot be given in a civil union law. So I only support marriage equality. I cannot vote on the second one as it goes against the separation of church and state. I decided that instead of taking this stupid poll I would write to them and tell them the problem. Hope you will too.

here is the conversation I had with the pollster (read from bottom up) -- I think she is naive if she believes civil union without the name marriage will really be equality -- OCICBW
Hi Ann.

The question posits the extension of ALL rights associated with marriage to same-sex couples. The only thing that would not be included is the label "marriage". So, that's what the questions asks about. It would extend all 1300 benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, every benefit EXCEPT the term "marriage". That's what the question poses.

Pastor Romell Weekly

Ann Fontaine wrote:
I don't understand why, if you really support marriage equality, you
can't have one choice be marriage - civil unions are not "everything
but" -- there are over 1300 benefits of marriage - many of which a
civil union cannot offer.

On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 5:35 PM, The Affirmation Declaration


I'm sorry that you find the poll offensive; but that's precisely why it's an
poll. It offers people the opportunity share their views on the subject.
Many people agree with you, so they vote that they would not support any
measure that does not include the term "marriage". But, some people
disagree, also. That's why this type of poll is important, so that even
amongst people who support same-sex rights, views can be gauged. I hope that
you reconsider your decision not to take the poll and share you view on this
serious issue. As you are certainly passionate about the issue, share that
view in the poll.

Thank you.
Pastor Romell Weekly

Ann Fontaine wrote:

I cannot take your poll - it is offensive to have anything less than
marriage equality as a choice.


Denbeau said...

It's ambiguous as well. I would support an 'everything-but-marriage' solution ... as long as it applied to everyone; i.e. no 'civil' marriage at all; only civil unions. Any solution that treats straights and gays the same way is a start.

it's margaret said...

I got it too, and just deleted it... wonder where they got our email addresses!

Ann said...

If you signed The Affirmation Declaration on Facebook - that is where they got the email addresses. It was meant to counter The Manhattan Declaration.

IT said...

They are naive. The FACT is that "civil unions" do not, cannot, confer the rights of a marriage. They are not portable across state or national lines. They are not given the same respect, the same rights, or the same expectations.

Even in CA where they are supposedly "the same" people are STILL being denied healthcare, etc.

in New Jersey, the courts found that they are NOT the same and thus marriage must be an option.

Separate is not equal.


More at GMC

Please feel free to send this link to your correspondent.

Karen said...

Just sent them an email explaining why I am not taking the poll. If they get told often enough and clearly enough maybe they will get a clue. . .

Jarred said...

Naive is right. Segregation proved that "separate but equal" is a fallacy. The experiences in New Jersey and California proved that "separate but equal" works no better in the whole issue of marriage equality than it did in segregation.

The problem with the poll question is that it assumes a world that doesn't match up with reality. Of course I'd support a truly equal "everything but the name" option. But the reality is that such an option is impossible to create or maintain. So the question of whether I'd support it is moot.

Marshall said...

My question is just who is this Pastor Weekly, and how did she decide to pursue this poll? Who are her readers? In the old concern about "lies, damned lies, and statistics," I find myself what her agenda is in the first place

Jarred said...

By the way, I the Friends of Jake don't mind if I post a link to my blog and solicit prayers for a grieving friend. But I figure this is something the FoJ have shown themselves to be great about before. So I'm going to semi-selfishly bank on that.

IT said...

Jarred, that's fine. besides asking for care for a friend is hardly selfish!

Jarred said...

Marshall: I'm personally not ready to call Pastor Weekly's motives into question quite yet. I know a lot of sincere people who have suggested the "marriage in everything but name" option. It's usually based on their belief that (1) the anti-gay crowd won't complain as long as they feel the word "marriage" is protected, (2) it'll actually get same sex couples the protections they need and deserve, and (3) it makes more or less everyone happy.

Granted, I think that people who believe any one of those three things -- let alone all three of them -- are seriously misguided and even deluded. Anyone who has watched the anti-gay crowd in action would know that they have their sites set on civil unions as well as marriage. And experiences have shown us that #2 just isn't true either. And that means that #3 is pure fantasy.

But I don't doubt some people's sincerity in wanting such a solution to work or even in believing that we could make it work. Being deluded is not the same thing as being a mean or nasty person.

Granted, I am a bit more curious and skeptical about the second poll question. That does seem a bit like concern trolling. But again, I'm not quite ready to completely question Pastor Weekly's motives yet. After all, she must have something to do with the Affirmation Declaration, which is something extremely positive. So I think it's good to try to understand this new information and the disconnect it seems to be suggesting.

Ann said...

It is from The Affirmation Declaration group. You can find it on Facebook or here

Grandmère Mimi said...

Ann, you were right to follow through and state your opinion. My reaction to the poll was the same. I found the questions quite puzzling coming after the Affirmation, and I refused to answer.

Sozo's said...

Perhaps you should have read the poll. Each poll asks specifically if you would support the options listed, and each poll gives you an option to say you would NOT support that option.

Neither poll are in support of civil unions over Marriage, they are simply asking if you WOULD support a civil union over a marriage, if you were given the same rights in each.

Does the name really matter, is what the polls are trying to answer. By saying you can't answer a simply poll because you don't agree with the question is rather silly, in my opinion, all you had to do was say "NO, I don't support this."

However, you've opted to blog about why you couldn't answer the poll, and attempted to make the pollster look bad. How is that fair, when all you had to do is answer the question stating you didn't support that civil unions.

Jarred said...

Sozo: The thing is, saying that a poll question is bad is a valid response. Any college-level course in research methods, statistics, or any other subject that covers polls and questionnaires is going to discuss this matter at length. The wording on a question can drastically alter the responses given by those polled or surveyed. And if the poll must be answered by one of a limited number of multiple choice answers, then the effect of wording of both the questions and the available answers. In the example of this poll, none of the answers accurately reflects my position. "I would not support such a solution" is not an accurate representation of my beliefs. My beliefs are that such an option is completely untenable to begin with. None of the options in the poll properly reflect that opinion. As such, the poll is severely flawed, and by marking any of the existing answers, I would make the results all the more inaccurate.

And neither Ann nor most of the commenters have done anything to make the pollster look bad. We have simply stated that her belief that such a scenario as she proposes is possible is terribly naive. That's hardly a damning statement or even character assassination. Even Marshall questioning her motives isn't exactly painting her as some horrible person -- even if I think such questions were premature.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Sozo, the poll questions are not well-phrased. Why were so many of us stopped in our tracks from answering the questions? Because had we answered, we would not be expressing our true opinions. To answer "Absolutely not" could mean that I'm against any law at all, including marriage, for same-sex couples.

Does the name really matter, is what the polls are trying to answer.

The name really matters because separate is never truly equal. A marriage by any other name is not a marriage, but there was no answer that allowed that view to be expressed.