Friday, April 11, 2003

Cats and Dogs, Hating Each Other

Andrew Sullivan points to this story for the following proposition:

More Massachusetts residents now support equal marriage rights than oppose them, according to a new poll. I point this out so that when the hard right claims that the courts are subverting popular opinion, you'll know they're projecting.
There is either a factual fallacy at work here, or a logical fallacy.

First, to suggest that notoriously left-wing Taxachusetts residents falling in love, so to speak, with the idea of gay marriage is somehow shocking, surprising, amazing, or in any way unexpected is to announce that you're broadcasting from Bizarro World. We're talking about a state with a heavily Catholic population that votes for Ted Kennedy every single time he's up. To be honest with you, the surprise to me is that the poll data indicates that the People's Republic of Massachusetts just now decided it favored gay marriage. I woulda figured they'd have decided that by last Great Leader Day, or whenever someone came up with the Big Dig, whichever came first.

The logical fallacy may be a result of reader impression, rather than writer intent, but: Insofar as he's implying that the opinions found in the PRM are in any way, shape, or form indicative of the rest of the country (and that, therefore, courts announcing a right to gay marriage in, say, Kansas or Texas, would not be subverting popular will) is to engage in wish fulfilment so strong as to actually raise questions concerning one's narcotic use.

(Thus, the article itself starts with:

In a major break with public opinion across the country, a new poll taken by the Boston Globe and WBZ-TV finds a slim majority of Massachusetts residents express support for allowing same-sex couples the right to marry.
Yup, that sweeping mandate, she is a-coming.)

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