Q’Pac: 6-1 support medical marijuana, 50% marriage equality

PollsIn a poll released this morning, Quinnipiac found support among Virginia voters for medical marijuana to be 84%, although that support does not extend to recreational use:

Support for legalizing marijuana for personal use is 46 percent, with 48 percent opposed. Democrats support the measure 58 – 35 percent, with Republicans opposed 68 – 27 percent and independent voters divided 47 – 47 percent. Men support it 52 – 43 percent while women oppose it 51 – 42 percent. Voters 18 to 29 years old support legalizing marijuana for personal use 71 – 26 percent, with support dropping through the age groups. Voters over 65 years old are opposed 66 – 24 percent.

I’m a little surprised that the recreational use vote is that close. I would have thought far more would be opposed. Maybe it’s because …

Only 39 percent of Virginia voters, including 46 percent of voters under 30 years old, admit that they ever have tried marijuana.

… some folks aren’t telling the truth? 🙂

The poll also shows that support for marriage equality has hit 50%:

With strong support from women, Virginia voters favor 50 – 42 percent allowing same- sex couple to get married in the Commonwealth. Support is 54 – 38 percent among women while men are divided with 46 percent in favor and 48 percent opposed.

Support for same-sex marriage is 69 – 22 percent among Democrats and 52 – 42 percent among independent voters, with Republicans opposed 70 – 23 percent.

Voters under 30 years old support it 69 – 25 percent, with support at 50 percent or higher among voters 30 to 64 years old. Voters over 65 are opposed 56 – 35 percent.

If you missed it, the first briefs were filed Friday in the ongoing case against Virginia’s marriage ban. One of the first articles I read was this one, which offers an interesting new argument from the attorney representing Norfolk’s Clerk of Court, George Schaefer:

If the traditional definition of marriage is changed, it leads to some strange places, the brief argues.

“Then what is the purpose in prohibiting marriage between persons of close kinship?” it asks. “Would it then be unconstitutional for two brothers who are confirmed bachelors and live together to marry so that they could own property as tenants by the entireties, file joint tax returns, qualify for health benefits, and obtain better insurance rates? Certainly these brothers have the capacity to form a long-term loving and lasting relationship.”

The AP story leaves that little tidbit out. (The AP story is also confusing: each of the clerks has their own attorneys. )

The poll is an interesting snapshot into the minds of Virginia’s voters.


12 thoughts on “Q’Pac: 6-1 support medical marijuana, 50% marriage equality

  1. Schaefer’s attorney’s argument is the major concern I’ve always had about gay marriage. Somehow in 2010, while running for Congress, Kenny Golden got seated on a Federal Jury in a case involving a ring of female sailors taking large cash payments to marry foreign nationals. That’s a big problem in the civilian world as well, with or without gay marriage.

    As was stated in another brief from the Virginia Gay Marriage case, the purpose of the laws surrounding marriage were the support (or restriction of) procreation. We really need to go through and redefine all the financial benefits now conferred through marriage and restrict them to people, regardless of sexuality, who are joint parents/guardians of minors. I don’t think the government has any role in supporting or subsidizing long term cohabitation that doesn’t involve the raising of children.

    Two brothers who decide to raise children of a deceased family member together should be entitled to the same rights and benefits as a married couple and two people who divorced an remarry without kids should not.

    1. First, people getting married for benefits has been around for about as long as benefits of being married have existed. Fortunately, the number doing that is relatively small, as is the number of folks who don’t get married because it would cause them to lose benefits. I’ve seen both in my years of practice. While most of my experience with the latter came from seniors, I also saw younger people who stayed single in order to claim head of household status for returns.

      As for the “close kinship” situation – Virginia allows marriages between cousins, something that other states forbid. But would two brothers marry? I suspect the number of such “couples” who would is about the same number of other “couples” who marry for the benefits.

      There are 17 states that allow same-sex marriage, some for years. Have any sibling couples tried to marry?

      The procreation argument goes out of the window once you allowed people to marry who cannot procreate or who choose not to procreate.

      As to trying to parse the law to take care of those raising children – that is exactly what many unmarried couples have tried to do, with varying degrees of success. The two brothers raising a child would run up against the same rules, although I would guess that the court may award them both custody.

      But let’s look at another part of his argument: tenants by the entireties. This is a special way to hold property that is specific to married couples.(good reference here) that protect their property from creditors. Would it be a bad thing if this was extended to other joint property holders – like, the fictional brothers?

      There are so many benefits that are wrapped up in the term “marriage” that separating them out, one by one, is virtually impossible.

      1. You’re probably right that there is no way to decouple the benefits from marriage, I guess I’m just looking for a way to remove the social aspect from the equation. From my generations perspective, we would be much better off without all the emotional drama if we would just re-frame this whole debate over economics.

        As far as people getting married for benefits, I’m looking a few generations down the line. 50 years ago the idea of gay marriage wasn’t even close to being accepted. 50 years from now, the way our culture is declining, people will be getting “married” for the benefits right and left.

        Heck, you can do a quick search of craigslist and find dozens of active duty service members looking for people to marry them for extra benefits right now. And at the oceanfront during the summer, it would take you all of 5 minutes to find a Russian guy willing to pay you 15 grand to marry one of his friends for a few years with another big pay off at the end.

        1. I suspect that 50 years from now (you’ll be here, I won’t be) a lot of the “benefits of marriage” will have disappeared or been severely curtailed. Think about it: a lot of the financial benefits – like additional housing allowances, spousal Social Security – are based on taking care of the family. Fewer available resources will likely hasten the demise of those. (And, I suspect, as singles continue to gain the majority, there will be a bit of a rebellion against subsidizing couples.)

          1. I disagree, actually. I think that if anything happens, we’re going to continue doing more and more to financially incentivize young people forming families.

            Marriage rates are declining for two key reasons. The decline is a natural consequence of the increasing access to educational and professional opportunities of women in the United States. Upper-middle class women defer forming families until after finishing graduate school for fear of preempting their access to some of these opportunities. This is compounded by the fact that the recession had a disproportionately harsh effect on the ability of even educated millennials to find and hold long-term employment. Individuals in this age range are making the conscious decision to defer forming families until they have professional and financial stability.

            A lot of people are arguing that this all means that our social understanding of the institution of marriage is changing. I would posit that this is not true; rather, millennials subconsciously realize what every mother who invites 150 of her closest friends to her daughter’s wedding–or, for that matter, what every medieval baron who married his daughter off to some distant duke–has realized all along. Marriage has never been exclusively about procreation; it’s also the be-all and end-all of status symbols that signals to the world the social and economic stability of two individuals and their respective families.

            As status symbols go, it is perhaps second only to home ownership; frankly, home ownership and marriage are almost inexorably linked in any case. It’s a lot safer for a bank to invest in financing a mortgage for a married couple than an unmarried couple. And it’s a lot safer for the married couple to buy: in Virginia, as in most states, a married couple that purchases may own as cotenants by the entirety. Where two people own as cotenants by the entirety, a creditor may not seize or attach their home as an asset to satisfy the debts of one of the tenants. The best an unmarried couple can do at law is own as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, in which case Visa can attach the house if one of the two owners runs up $50,000 in credit card debt and then force a judicial sale upon judgement.

            (Note to Vivian: While the 4th Cir. has issued a stay on the issuance of marriage licenses pending their decision on Bostic, I am not sure if they can prevent you from restructuring your deed to a cotenancy by the entirety between you and your wife. You should call your lawyer and see what you need to do that at 9:00 AM on Monday).

            My overriding point here is that everyone who complains about the declining role of procreation in the marital institution missed their moment to argue about that somewhere during the eleventh century; however, marriage as a social institution remains desirable even among the young and unmarried, and we will continue to do what we can to make it attainable for any two non-related consenting adults who want to join in such a union.

  2. > The procreation argument goes out of the window once you allowed people to
    > marry who cannot procreate or who choose not to procreate.

    No, it doesn’t. A determination of “cannot procreate” is hardly an exact science, and would be overly intrusive for the State to manage. I know a woman who, after he childhood ovarian cancer, that she would be unable to have children. It was quite a shock to her when she became a teen mom — having been told that was impossible. She now has four health children. I know another woman who was told it would be “very difficult” for her to become pregnant. Her husband can barely look at her funny without her becoming pregnant. I also know a woman who had a child in her late fifties.

    I’ve even read a story of a 90-year old woman who became pregnant, and gave birth to a healthy boy. After her death, her husband, well over 100 years old, fathered six more children with his second wife.

    However, it is impossible for a homosexual couple to have children. Not even the miracles of modern artificial insemination or cloning can take two sperm and make a child, or take two ova and make a child.

  3. @Silence

    You might be right on the way things are going. But a lot of that depends on the milllennials – and I don’t have much faith that they will grasp this.

    As for my deed – obviously we have JTWROS. But I’ll check to see if I can get it changed.

  4. “[We] will continue to do what we can to make it attainable for any two non-related consenting adults who want to join in such a union.”

    Why only two? Why non-related?

    1. “Why only two?” Because we trust the writing of judicial opinions to people smarter than friggin’ goldfish, Warren. Gay marriage won’t implicate polygamy. It simply won’t. Marriage factors into how laws are administered at the state and federal level in myriad ways, and they’re always structured upon the basic assumption that any person can only have at most one spouse. If you’re involved in a car accident on the way home from work today, and you survive but are in a coma, your spouse is going to have a lot of authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. What if we let you have three spouses, and each of them had a fundamentally different opinion about your treatment. Let’s say that as a result of all of this dithering, you succumb to your injuries. Let’s further say that you died without children, and you willed all of your money to your favorite charity. As a matter of law in Virginia, you cannot entirely disinherit your spouse. The spouse of a decedent who died without issue is entitled to 50% of the estate in Virginia. What do we do about the fact that you have three spouses? Do we let them split only the elective share? Do we widen their slice of the pie for the sake of equity? What happens when two spouses who previously own a home marry a third party–what property interests would that create in terms of their cotenancy? Don’t answer too quickly–it’s a complicated question! By default, only the two previous spouses would have any rights of survivorship–probably! How do three spouses jointly file their taxes? If one spouse abuses a second, can the third be compelled to testify about it? What happens when two spouses try to divorce the third? If they have children when they divorce, what sort of visitation rights are we going to recognize in the spouse who parented but is not biologically related to the offspring of the other parents?

      Recognizing same sex marriage poses about the same number of implementation hurdles as interracial marriage–which is to say “zero.” Changing races doesn’t matter. Changing genders doesn’t matter. Changing NUMBERS matters a hell of a lot, however, and that can’t be solved without wholesale legislative changes to our tax law.

      “Why non-related?” Because incest and consanguinity laws will still survive strict scrutiny.

      1. Ah, so for the convenience of law-makers and tax-collectors, you are willing to violate the right of people to marry whomever they love. Brilliant.

        1. Honest question: what’s it like to be so disagreeable? I can’t really imagine living with a mindset where you discover that the sky isn’t falling and subsequently get resentful over the fact that things aren’t as bad as you thought. How do you get through the trivial aggravations of each new day without putting a gun in your mouth?

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