Poll: 54% in Calif. back marriage amend.
LOS ANGELES (BP)--A proposed constitutional marriage amendment in California likely would pass if a vote were held today, a new Los Angeles Times/KTLA Poll shows.
Registered voters back the amendment by a margin of 54-35 percent, with 10 percent undecided or not knowing where they stand, according to the survey. The amendment, which almost certainly will be on the ballot, would reverse the May 15 decision by the California Supreme Court legalizing "gay marriage."
Meanwhile, attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed legal papers with the California court May 22 asking for a delay for the ruling going into effect until after the November election.
The new poll should give the state's amendment supporters -– who have been criticized within the media for pushing the proposal -- a moral boost.
Although 54 percent is a slippage in support for traditional marriage since 2000 –- when a law banning "gay marriage" passed 61-39 percent -– marriage amendments typically do better at the ballot than they do in polling. For example, a Wisconsin amendment in 2006 polled anywhere from 48 to 51 percent in pre-election polls but passed 59-41 percent, and an Oregon amendment in 2004 polled around 50 percent but passed 56-44 percent.
A majority of states (27) have adopted such amendments.
The LA Times/KTLA Poll also showed the intensity of opposition to the court's ruling as greater than the intensity of support. Among all citizens -– voters and non-voters -– 42 percent strongly disapprove and 10 percent somewhat disapprove of the ruling while 29 percent strongly approve and 12 percent somewhat approve (for a combined percentage of 52 percent supporting the ruling and 41 percent opposing it). Seven percent said they didn't know where they stood.
The poll of 834 adults, including 705 registered voters, was conducted May 20-21.
The Alliance Defense Fund's legal brief argues that the ruling should be delayed in part because the amendment almost certainly will be on the ballot. Thirty-seven of California's 58 counties, the brief states, have completed their review of the signatures submitted by the pro-amendment coalition ProtectMarriage.com, and the signature validation rate is 83.42 percent -– far higher than the required 68.16 percent. Counties must complete their reviews by June 18, the brief says.
ProtectMarriage.com submitted 1.1 million signatures, far more than the 690,000 required. County clerks use a sampling method to determine how many of the signatures are valid.
It would be wrong, the ADF brief states, to allow "gay marriage" for five months, only to have it overturned in November. Such a scenario would "create innumerable complex legal questions" about the status of the "marriages" performed. The brief pointed to similar rulings in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont, where "gay marriage" or same-sex civil union decisions were delayed.
"Less than five months after this decision becomes final, the people of California will decide whether to enact a constitutional definition of marriage," the ADF brief to the court states. "Great public harm and mischief, as outlined herein, will result from permitting same-sex 'marriages' for a five-month period, only to later change the law by returning marriage to its traditional definition. It would thus be wise for this Court to stay the implementation of its decision, and first allow the voters to define the institution of marriage for themselves."
Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor for Baptist Press.