Wednesday, May 28, 2008

51 percent support same-sex marriage > News > State -- 51 percent support same-sex

By Bill Ainsworth

May 28, 2008

SACRAMENTO – A new poll finds that for the first time in the state's history, a slim majority of voters supports same-sex marriage, which the state Supreme Court declared legal this month.

According to the nonpartisan Field Poll, 51 percent of California registered voters favor allowing same-sex couples to marry, 42 percent are opposed and 7 percent have no opinion.
Support for same-sex marriage has steadily increased during the 30 years that the Field Poll has surveyed voters on the issue. But this is the first time more voters expressed support than opposition.

“This is in many ways a historic poll,” said Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo. “It's a very significant moment.”

The poll also found voters are not inclined to support an amendment to the California Constitution banning same-sex marriage, such as the one targeted for the November ballot. Only 40 percent of those surveyed said they favored such a measure, 54 percent were opposed and 6 percent had no opinion.

The survey showed big differences in opinion on keeping same-sex marriage legal. Supporters include younger voters, Democrats, liberals and residents of Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area. Opposed were older voters, Republicans, conservatives, residents of the Central Valley and Southern California counties besides Los Angeles, including San Diego and Orange counties.

Women and men support allowing same-sex marriage, though men less so. Women are in favor, 53 percent to 39 percent, with 8 percent having no opinion. Support among men is 48 percent to 44 percent, with 8 percent having no opinion.

In 2006, the last Field Poll on the issue, 44 percent approved of same-sex marriage and 50 percent disapproved.

Since then, several things have happened.

In 2007, the Legislature passed for a second time a law approving same-sex marriage, which was again vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. For years, California had already allowed same-sex couples to register in domestic partnerships that confer many of the same rights and responsibilities that go with marriage.

Last fall, a gay-rights group, Equality California, conducted a campaign that included television and Internet advertising along with house parties in support of making same-sex marriage legal.

Most significant, the state Supreme Court on May 15 ruled 4-3 that statutes banning same-sex marriage violate the right to marry embodied in the state constitution.

The decision overturned a law passed by the Legislature in 1977 and Proposition 22 approved by 61 percent of California voters in 2000. The ruling made California the second state after Massachusetts to legalize same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriages may begin in the state as early as June 14.

While some predicted a backlash from the court's decision, DiCamillo suggested the court might have helped increase support for same-sex marriage.

“The court is held in high esteem in California,” he said.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have gathered more than enough signatures to place their amendment on the ballot. The secretary of state's office is expected to determine next month whether the measure qualifies for the November ballot.

Opposition to the constitutional amendment in the new survey is in line with past polls, DiCamillo said.

In four surveys from 2003 to 2006, the Field Poll asked voters about a possible amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting marriage to a man and a woman. Opposition registered between 50 percent and 54 percent with support topping out at 42 percent.

“People are reluctant to make constitutional changes,” DiCamillo said.

Results from the Field Poll contrasted with a poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times and KTLA last week showing slim majorities of voters disagreed with the Supreme Court's ruling and supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

DiCamillo declined comment on the Times poll.

Ron Prentice, spokesman for, which is sponsoring the measure to ban same-sex marriage, said he believes the numbers from the Times poll.

“The public outcry from the court's overturning the majority vote of eight years ago suggests something altogether different from the statistics put forward by the Field Poll,” he said.

Dale Kelly Bankhead, chairman of the San Diego Center Advocacy Project, a gay-rights group, said she was “incredibly pleased” by the Field Poll and what it means for November.

“Californians have moved a long way on the issue,” she said. “We expect that they will reject the ballot measure to roll back the decision. Marriage equality and dignity for committed same-sex couples will be part of California's legacy.”

The Field Poll, conducted over nine days that ended on Monday, surveyed 1,052 voters with a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

The Times poll, conducted during two days last week, was based on interviews with 705 registered voters with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Over time, more gays and lesbians have become open about their sexual orientation and several countries, including Canada, South Africa and Spain, have legalized same-sex marriage.

While California and Massachusetts have legalized same-sex marriage, many states have voted to ban it.

DiCamillo said he believes that the majority in favor of same-sex marriage will remain in California because the issue splits along generational lines.

For example, those between 18 and 29 are in favor, 68 percent to 25 percent, while those 65 or older are opposed, 55 percent to 36 percent, according to the poll.

“This is a marker,” DiCamillo said. “The lines have been crossed.”


Anonymous said...

I love my dog. Can I now marry my dog legally?

Anonymous said...

well if your dog can sign his/her name on the marriage license I guess it would be ok. But the sex may not be to much fun. you lose we win.

Anonymous said...

God made Adam and Eve,,,,,,,not Adam and Steve,,,,,,,,,,The word in God's Book of Knowledge states that Man who lays with man or woman who lays with woman will have no place in Heaven.