Monday, October 29, 2007

MD Support Civil Unions

Poll: Marylanders Support Civil Unions, Still Reluctant On Gay Marriageby Newscenter Staff
Posted: October 26, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET
(Baltimore, Maryland) A new poll shows that support among Maryland voters for civil unions has grown to almost 60 percent, but when asked about same-sex marriage a slight majority continue to be opposed.
The Washington Post poll, published Friday, found that 57 percent of voters would approve of lawmakers allowing gay and lesbian couples to form civil unions in the state.
Thirty-nine percent were opposed.
But on the subject of same-sex marriage, 44 percent said they would approve, with 51 percent opposed.
The Post poll found that opposition to same-sex marriage was strongest among older voters and people who frequently attend religious services.
Among those who rarely attend religious services, 61 percent support gay marriage and 73 percent support civil unions, the Post reported.
Among those who attend services at least weekly, only 25 percent support gay marriage and 37 percent support civil unions.
Fifty-five percent of voters under the age of 40 support same-sex marriage, and 64 percent said they would support civil unions.
But among those 65 and older, only 30 percent support gay marriage and 44 percent support civil unions.
The survey is likely to attract the attention of state lawmakers.
The issue of recognizing gay and lesbian relationships fell to the legislature last month when the Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision and upheld the state law barring gay and lesbian couples from marrying (story) but said that lawmakers could consider ways of recognizing same-sex pairs.
In two states which already have civil unions - Vermont and New Jersey - efforts are underway to amend the laws to permit same-sex marriage.
Earlier this month, Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, a Democrat, said he was in favor of civil unions. (story)
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D) has said he would fight such a bill and Republicans in both houses are touting a potential constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.
Maryland's largest LGBT civil rights organization, Equality Maryland, says that civil unions are not an option and that it will hold out for marriage legislation.
"Nearly half of Marylanders are there on the issue of marriage equality," Executive Director Dan Furmansky told
"With a bit more patience and work on our part we're going to move the the populace in favor of full legal equality."
The Post poll of 1,103 Maryland adults was conducted by telephone Oct. 18 through 22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
© 2007

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