Third Way Issues New Polling and Message Documents on Gay and Lesbian Issues
Washington, DC: Americans overwhelmingly believe that civil unions will become the law of the land, but they are divided about whether it represents “progress” for America, according to a polling and message memo released today by Third Way. The document, “Four Steps to Supporting Same-Sex Relationship Recognition,” lays out a strategy for policymakers to help create a more favorable environment for movement on gay and lesbian issues.
According to the group, the first step is to show political leaders that public opinion regarding gays and lesbians is changing rapidly and largely warming. Second is to recognize and reason with the large segment of the population who are torn between wanting to be fair and just and their lingering discomfort with homosexuality – a group Third Way calls the “Grays.” Third is to reach out to senior citizens and married couples who are untapped sources of possible support. And fourth is to persuade Americans that moving forward on gay and lesbian rights represents progress for America.
“The progress argument is central to winning the public debate on gay and lesbian issues,” explained Rachel Laser, Director of Third Way’s Culture Project. “The Grays – the vast middle – see attitudes toward gays and lesbians as changing, but they are internally conflicted as to whether this new openness represents progress for America. They feel that advocates on the left dismiss their ambivalence as small-mindedness. They feel opponents on the right are too harsh and mean-spirited. They want to be reasoned with, not lectured to.”
Third Way based its paper on two main original sources of public opinion research. Last summer, Third Way commissioned Olson-Zaltman Associates, a research firm used primarily by Fortune 500 companies, to probe beneath the surface and uncover the underlying motivations that influence people’s opinions towards gay and lesbian issues in America. Also, immediately following the 2006 elections, Third Way, together with the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, commissioned Zogby International to conduct polls in Colorado, Virginia and across the nation on gay equality issues.
“We hope our advice helps to move gay and lesbian issues forward while removing some of the toxicity in the debate,” said Laser. “For over 200 years, America has extended the promise of liberty and acceptance to those previously denied. This is the next step on that journey.”
Third Way’s Culture Project has completed groundbreaking work on abortion, guns, immigration and stem cells. Attached are the “Four Steps” memo and a related messaging memo on the recently introduced legislation in Congress to expand the protections of the Hate Crimes Law to gays and lesbians.
- Four Steps to Supporting Same-Sex Relationship Recognition
- The Hate Crimes Bill: Progress for America
Contact: Matt Bennett (202) 775-3768 x212