Guest Editorial

Stephen Flynn

The passing of the gay marriage and civil union ban comes as a sad mark on what was otherwise an exciting night for Wisconsin democrats and progressives. The new ban is sad news for all unmarried couples in Wisconsin and the cause of freedom in general.
I sifted through the exit polling data trying to figure out what demographics voted in which direction, and what could be the meaning behind it. Ideology is always a major factor: liberals handedly voted “No” – Conservatives “Yes.”
But that doesn’t go deep enough. What about gender? Men voted “Yes” slightly more than women, but the majority of women also voted for the ban. What about income? A majority among both rich and poor voted for the ban. What about level of education? The more education you received, the more likely you were to vote “No,” but among those with postgraduate degrees, the “Yes” vote was still quite solid.
What about students? I’m proud to say that a solid majority – 60 percent-of those aged 18-29 voted “No.” The younger you are, the more likely you are to vote “No.” On the other hand, 67 percent of those 60 and older voted “Yes.” I think that as our voting generation ages, tolerance and freedom will eventually be the majority voice in the state.
However, religion played the largest demographic factor in how one voted. On the issue of marriage it may be no big surprise there, but a very important point to mention. About 63 percent of those who were religious-mostly Protestant and Catholic-voted for the ban, and 71 percent of those who said “no religion” voted against the ban.
Those who attend church frequently voted 81 percent “Yes,” while those who never go to church voted 75 percent “No.”
On the whole, it seems religious voters overwhelmingly can’t separate a business’ freedom to offer unmarried couples the same benefits as married ones from their own personal and religious feelings about gay marriage. Non-religious voters on the other hand, despite their opinions on gay marriage itself, seem to understand those differences very clearly and apply them at the ballot box.