Opposition to 'gay marriage' on rise, 2 polls say

by Michael Foust, posted Wednesday, May 27, 2009 (10 years ago)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--A handful of state legislatures may be embracing "gay marriage," but two new polls show that Americans -- as well as Californians -- are not.

A Gallup poll of 1,015 adults released Wednesday (May 27) shows that Americans oppose legalizing "gay marriage" by a margin of 57-40 percent, the highest opposition has been in the poll since 2005, when a similar survey showed a margin of 59-37 percent against "gay marriage." The poll was conducted May 7-10 via landline and cell phones.

Last year, the Gallup poll showed 56 percent opposing "gay marriage," 40 percent supporting it. In 2007, it was 53-46 percent in opposition.

Additionally, this year's Gallup poll showed that 48 percent of Americans believe "that allowing two people of the same sex to marry will change our society for" the worse. Thirty-six percent say it would have no effect and 13 percent say it will change society for the better.

"While Americans have become increasingly likely to believe that the law should not discriminate against gay individuals and gay couples, the public still seems reluctant at this point to extend those protections to the institution of marriage," Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones wrote in an online analysis. "Public support for gay marriage appears to have stalled in the last two years, even as the gay marriage movement has scored a number of legal and legislative victories at the state level in the past year."

The poll was released one day after the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, a citizen-enacted constitutional amendment that bans "gay marriage." Prop 8 passed 52-48 percent, but a new poll shows that support for the amendment may be increasing. A SurveyUSA poll of 600 adults conducted Tuesday for four California TV stations shows that Californians oppose "gay marriage" by a margin of 53-45 percent. Additionally, they back the court's decision, 56-40 percent.

Five states have legalized "gay marriage," although the laws in two of those states have yet to take effect: 1) Maine, where its citizens may get to decide whether to overturn the law, and 2) Vermont, where that state's law goes into effect in September. Maine and Vermont are the only states where "gay marriage" laws have been implemented through the legislature. The other three -- Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa -- came via court-order.

The Gallup survey comes on the heels of a Quinnipiac survey of 2,041 registered voters nationwide in April that showed 55 percent would "oppose a law in your state that would allow same-sex couples to get married." Thirty-eight percent would support such a law.

The Gallup survey asked: "Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?"

The SurveyUSA questions asked: "Do you think same-sex couples should or should not be allowed to marry in California?" and "California's Supreme Court has upheld Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage. Do you agree or disagree with the court's ruling upholding Proposition 8?"


Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press. To read how "gay marriage" impacts parental rights and religious freedom click here.

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