Gay Marriage | News

Amazing Chart Shows Massive U.S. Senate Shift in Support for Marriage Equality


(via wonkblog)

There are only seven Democratic senators remaining that have not come out for marriage equality.

They are: Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Mark Pryor, (D-AR).

Who do you predict will be next? What about Republicans?

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  1. Please Towleroad - stop being so disrespectful to people who have come out of the closet as LGBT.

    Politicians who support LGBT equality are NOT coming out. They are not placing themslves at any risk by doing so.

    They are merely stating that they are human beings.

    Claiming that elected public officials are 'coming out' is a gross trivialisation of the bravery of those LGBT people who have come out.

    Posted by: MaryM | Apr 3, 2013 11:07:25 AM

  2. Them "coming out" is really irrelevant to me. Unless they are backing that up with legislation its just posturing

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Apr 3, 2013 11:10:00 AM

  3. Not to devalue the support for marriage equality, but I were lecturing about techniques of data manipulation, this chart would be exhibit A.

    Posted by: Nat | Apr 3, 2013 11:12:08 AM

  4. Hope the remaining half grow some balls too

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Apr 3, 2013 11:22:37 AM

  5. Nat, are you under the impression that there has not actually been a surge of stated support in the Senate for marriage equality?

    In 1996, there was exactly one Senator who supported marriage equality (Ron Wyden of Oregon). Pryor to 1996, there were exactly zero. As of yesterday, there are 50 Senators who support marriage equality. The support has not grown gradually, either. It's been a fine example of punctuated equilibrium. The graph captures that reality.

    The only possible criticism I could imagine of the way this data is graphed is that the Y-axis should probably range to 100 since there are 100 Senators. Other than that, what problem do you see?

    Posted by: RyanInWyo | Apr 3, 2013 11:32:13 AM

  6. Now lets see some of these Senators actually do something for marriage equality rather than sit on the sidelines.

    The graph shows quite clearly that the past 2 or so years have led to a sea change in terms of support for marriage equality---with our rights becoming less divisive to support. Which is as a result of acceptance towards marriage equality increasing in the USA.

    Posted by: Francis | Apr 3, 2013 11:46:21 AM

  7. If you want to see the defeat of most of those democratic Senators, from mostly deep red states, pressure them into coming out publically for gay marriage. The Republican Party will thank you.

    Posted by: andrew | Apr 3, 2013 12:09:37 PM

  8. How bout some legislation sponsorship--marriage equality, ends, etc...

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Apr 3, 2013 12:11:21 PM

  9. I'm originally from Louisiana, and I don't see Mary Landrieu favoring marriage equality any time soon. Too many wingnut religious types there, no matter how she may personally feel about it. If I had to choose, I MIGHT go with Florida as a possibility.

    Posted by: MickleSt | Apr 3, 2013 12:34:58 PM

  10. "Nat, are you under the impression that there has not actually been a surge of stated support in the Senate for marriage equality?"

    No. Not at all.

    My issue is that simple graphical representations are readily (and unnecessarily) used to demonstrate changes that do not actually have to be depicted in a visual form. They have a psychological effect on how people perceive and interpret data, and consequently are a very easy way to manipulate a person's perceptions of data.

    Posted by: Nat | Apr 3, 2013 12:36:40 PM

  11. @Andrew: It's our job to pressure Senators to do the right thing. They're big boys and girls; they can weigh their moral and political consciences and take a stand one way or the other. If they think it will cost them an election, they're not going to bow down to our pressure. It's not our job to treat them like delicate babies.

    It's not like the recent coverts--welcome though they are--are suddenly caving into the mighty gay lobby. No, they see the writing on the wall and they see the shift among their constituents, and they served their own self-interest as well as ours by having a change of "heart."

    Posted by: Ernie | Apr 3, 2013 12:45:32 PM

  12. What Ernie says really ought to be obvious to any thinking adult. Alas, it ain't. Not cynicism, just realism. No matter what any politician campaigns on, his/her first job is to stay in office and enjoy that gravy train. If taking a stand jeopardizes the chances of re-election, don't hold your breath waiting for them to do it.

    Posted by: MickleSt | Apr 3, 2013 12:51:53 PM

  13. Nat: So we shouldn't graph things because some people will be psychologically affected by the graph? Hmmm. Well, that's an opinion, I guess, but I don't think what you're talking about constitutes data manipulation, which implies someone doing something dishonest.

    Posted by: RyanInWyo | Apr 3, 2013 1:05:10 PM

  14. You don't create a chart that has as its top Y axis the number that it's displaying. It should go to 100 (especially since there are 100 senators). Nat is correct, and his response was mine. I'm obviously happy about the sea change, but the figure would look a lot different with a 100-point Y axis and a line or even bars instead of the solid green used.

    Posted by: Paul R | Apr 3, 2013 1:19:35 PM

  15. Ryan i think you are misunderstanding what Nat is saying, not that it should not have been presented but that how it was presented has elements that are used specifically to manipulate the viewers response. I did not see him place a value judgment on it, just that he could use it in a class as an example. (Nat Correct me if i got that wrong)
    Now having said that i think Nat's comment in general was just a bit snarky for the subject, but belaboring the point will get us nowhere... :-)

    Posted by: Randyowen | Apr 3, 2013 1:39:48 PM

  16. I am wondering who were the brave few that supported it before it was fashionable?

    Posted by: zeddy | Apr 3, 2013 7:16:48 PM

  17. I want to make sweet love to both Nat and Paul R. They are so right. If there are 100 senators, 100 should be the top number. It would still be an impressive curve, by the way.

    Posted by: bravo | Apr 3, 2013 9:13:24 PM

  18. @Ernie; The most important thing for we democrats is to increase the number of Dems in the House and to keep majority control of the Senate or Obama will certainly be an impotent lame duck from Jan 2015 until his term ends. Those dems in Red States should keep quiet about gay marriage and try against almost impossibe odds to hold onto their seats and the democratic majority in the Senate.

    Posted by: andrew | Apr 3, 2013 9:55:56 PM

  19. @MaryM: Did you not read the 'for' that follows 'come out?'

    This post in no way suggests the Senators 'came out' of the closet. Only that they "[came] out for marriage equality."

    Posted by: Hunter | Apr 3, 2013 11:32:42 PM

  20. I really don't see the problem with fitting the vertical axis closely around the data points. If they had obscured the scale on the vertical axis, or tried to make insignificant changes look like huge ones, I could understand the complaints. We can all see that the vertical scale starts at 0 and stops at 50. If we doubled the vertical size of the plot and made the scale go all the way up to 100, it would look exactly the same except for some pointless white space at the top. Anyway, often it isn't feasible (or even possible) to have a scale covering the entire range of possible values - I don't see anyone arguing that the horizontal scale should go all the way back to 1789.

    On the other hand, they should have joined up the data points with horizontal lines showing the current number of supportive senators, rather than meaningless sloping lines.

    Posted by: James | Apr 5, 2013 12:07:12 PM

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