Postive v. Negative Rights: Marriage Implications
June 11, 2009
While a discussion of "positive versus negative" rights may be painful for all but the supreme PoliSci dorks among us, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com has an interesting post up today about how it could influence public support for marriage equality. He points out that the highest level of support for equal marriage has been 49% when the question is framed as a right the government show bestow. On the other hand a new USA Today/Gallup poll hows 63% of people support equal marriage when it's asked in terms of something in which the government shouldn't interfere.
Generally speaking, appeals to government noninterference are fairly popular; people don't like government telling them what they do and they don't have the right to do. Posit equal treatment under the law as the default -- how dare the government make a law that abridges this right on the basis of something as trivial as sexual orientation.