Cindy McCain speaks out for same-sex marriage

Cindy McCain - NoH8Yes, that Cindy McCain – wife of 2008 Republican presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. She posed for a photo as part of the NoH8 (“No hate,” get it?) campaign begun by photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley of North Hollywood to build public support against Proposition 8, the voter-approved California constitutional amendment now being challenged in a federal trial in San Francisco.

“The McCains are one of the most well-known Republican families in recent history, and for Mrs. McCain to have reached out to us to offer her support truly means a lot,” the NoH8 organizers wrote today on their Web site. “Although we had worked with Meghan McCain before and were aware of her own position, we’d never really thought the cause might be something her mother would get behind. We have a huge amount of respect for both of these women for being brave enough to make it known they support equal marriage rights for all Americans.”

This, a day after Republican San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders testified at the Prop. 8 trial about his own support of same-sex marriage.

But while these and some other Republicans are splitting from the GOP dogma on the issue, those hoping to promote same-sex marriage at the ballot box still shouldn’t be looking for a lot of support on the aisle’s right side. Consider this, from the Field Poll’s “August 2009 California Opinion Index: A Digest Summarizing The Changing California Electorate:”

When examining the changes in voter attitudes on these social issues by party, Californians’ greater acceptance of same-sex marriage over the past thirty years has come entirely from the ranks of registered Democrats and non-partisans rather than Republicans. Democratic voter views about allowing same-sex marriage have shifted from greater than two to one opposition in 1977 to greater than two to one support this year. Similarly, while a five to three majority of non-partisans opposed allowing same-sex couples to marry in 1977, they are now in support by a five to three margin.

Republicans, on the other hand, have not changed their views on this issue, and if anything, are now more opposed than they were thirty years ago. A nearly three to one majority of Republicans (68% to 23%) currently opposes allowing same-sex marriage in California. This is marginally greater than their 65% to 30% opposition found in a 1977 Field Poll.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • AJ

    Then I don’t get it why did Prop 8 pass if only Republicans, minority in California, vote against same-sex marriage. And what’s this thing about gays not having enough political clout (Prop 8 trial SF) according expert witness Professor Sequra? You can’t have it both way.

  • AV

    Many Democrats voted Yes on 8, it’s by no means a Republican issue. Some attributed it to the fact that Obama won California, and a large part of his support base are African-Americans many of whom are very religious and base their opposition to same-sex marriage on religious beliefs.

  • John W.

    Three cheers for both Cindy McCain and her daughter. John McCain handled it pretty gracefully, supporting the right of his family members to speak their minds but sticking to his own position opposing same-sex marriage. Still, given that he likely faces a primary challenge from the Tea Bag right, he probably wasn’t very happy. If you’re a Prop. 8 supporter, fear not. Can anybody doubt how the Supreme Court will rule, regardless of what happens in the current trial?

  • Bryan Henderson

    The poll is of registered voters, which is a somewhat different population than those who actually voted in that election. The vote and the survey aren’t very far apart, though.

    Also, polls always show people more tolerant of gays than their votes do, even when the polls specifically ask people how they plan to vote. I don’t know why. The no on 8 campaign knew before the election, based on the fact that polls showed it losing by 3%, that it would actually pass.