In recent days, the Fairness Coalition—an aggressive pro-GLBT group in Kentucky—released a poll proclaiming that 83% of Kentuckians support “fairness.” “Fairness” in this instance refers to the adoption of Fairness Ordinances, public policy initiatives meant to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. “Fairness” is also a clever word meant to curry public opinion in one direction without little regards as to the consequences.
At first reading, how could anyone be against “fairness?” We all want to be “fair,” right?
“Fairness” for the Fairness Coalition, however, means placing coerced data on the TV screens of Kentuckians. Attempts at swaying public opinion are aimed at forcing mass acceptance of the GLBT lifestyle in fear of cultural intimidation.
All that Fairness Ordinances do is complicate already existing legislation and continues to chip away at religious liberty statues. Instances of discrimination are hardly proportional to the cause of enacting legislation. As our own Senior Policy Analyst Martin Cothran contended in the Courier-Journal, “we don’t see any epidemic of discrimination against gays.”
The poll sampled a pool of 600 registered voters. The depth of this poll is far from satisfactory. When public policy initiatives are weighted towards an 83% statistic, sampling from a pool of 600 individuals results in statistics that are merely smoke and mirrors. It’s an attempt to persuade individuals that more people believe in GLBT rights than actually do.
Results of the survey did not comment on how the survey was conducted. The way in which a question can be framed plays an important part in determining polling responses. As this article suggests, same-sex marriage and public polling is a dubious pursuit.
Individuals have wondered why The Family Foundation has not responded to the poll in the media with more force than a blog post. The reason: We don’t contend that the polling results were a fair or accurate representation of Kentucky voting patterns in either method or results. Statistics further can be manipulated. Full disclosure in methodology would be appropriate. We doubt we’ll get that, though, as the gay rights movement will no doubt use this poll to barnstorm their agenda throughout Kentucky.
What the Fairness Coalition cannot contend with, however, is the overwhelming number of Kentuckians who voiced their opposition to gay marriage when the Marriage Protection Amendment was voted on in 2004. The election results were not only finite in measure, but square heavily against the 83% number touted by the Fairness Coalition. While a ballot measure protecting marriage and the adoption of a Fairness Ordinance may be qualitatively different by distinction, it is the firm belief of The Family Foundation that Kentuckians have resolutely stated their position on the GLBT agenda.
The Family Foundation isn’t the only group doubting the methods and results.
“Though we applaud and support the efforts of Louisville Fairness Campaign, Lexington Fairness, Kentucky Fairness Coalition, and the ACLU of Kentucky, I do not believe you can properly gauge the attitude of over 4.5 million citizens by polling 600 people,” stated Kentucky Equality Federation Chairman of the Board Richard T. Jones.
When a like-minded organization of similar interests doubts the method and results, evidence suggests that the Fairness Coalition’s results are at best ambiguous, and at worst, misinformed.
Scholar James Davidson Hunter of the University of Virginia famously said, “Cultural power is the power to name reality.” Touting these poll results with over-confidence, the Fairness Coalition plays off the “myth of inevitability”—the rhetoric and tactic of the gay-rights movements to speak as though the battle is already over.
With 30 states with marriage amendments (and several others on the docket in other state legislatures), the Fairness Coalition is going to have to do a lot more to convince Kentuckians that their agenda is mainstream.
The Family Foundation only wishes that the polling methods were as “fair” as the agenda that the Fairness Coalition is pushing.