What Do Marriage Equality And Capital Punishment Have In Common?

Scott Bland draws a parallel:

oimg-1Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to suspend the state’s death penalty Tuesday fits into a national trend. Eight states in the past decade have rolled back the death penalty, an accelerated pace mimicking the rapidly changing public opinion surrounding same-sex marriage that started at the same time. Public opinion over these two cultural wedge issues of the 1990s has changed dramatically since that time. And in blue states, both public opinion and public policy have moved significantly since Bill Clinton said Democrats “should no longer feel guilty about protecting the innocent” with capital punishment. (To prove he was tough on crime, Clinton left the campaign trail in 1992 to preside over the execution of convicted murderer Rickey Ray Rector.) Clinton also later signed the Defense of Marriage Act barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages two decades ago. Now, more than 100 million people live in states without the death penalty. …

Support for the death penalty for murders, which peaked at 80 percent in 1994, according to Gallup, has declined markedly since. The last time the polling company measured public opinion, in October, support was down to 60 percent, the lowest mark since the 1970s. While support for capital punishment trends downward, support for same-sex marriage has swung up at about the same rate, from 27 percent in 1996 to 54 percent last year, again according to Gallup.