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Americans Shift Sharply in Favor of Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

April 28th, 2009

A poll release by CBS/New York Times shows a recent very sharp shift in support for marriage equality. For the first time, support for marriage went above 40% and opposition to all forms of recognition dropped below 30%. And, for the first time, “marriage” is the most preferred of choices offered.

42 – marriage
25 – civil unions but not marriage
28 – no recognition for couples
5 – uncertain

Although polling has shown a steady increase of about 10% in support for marriage since the devisive 2004 Presidential elections in which President Bush made it a campaign issue, this latest poll suggest that there has been about a 9% jump in support in the past six weeks.

In the period between the two polls:

  • The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously determined that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage to same-sex couples.
  • The legislature of Vermont voted for marriage equality and overrode the governor’s veto.
  • The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted for marriage equality.
  • The District of Columbia unanimously voted to recognize out-of-district marriages.
  • The legislature of Connecticut codified marriage.
  • The Governor of New York initiated a drive to push marriage equality through the legislature. He was supported by the Mayor of New York City.
  • The legislature of Washington upgraded Domestic Partnerships to include All-But-The-Name.
  • The Maryland Senate voted to increase benefits offered to Domestic Partners.
  • The legislature of Colorado passed a Designated Beneficiaries act.
  • The Delaware Senate rejected a ban on same-sex marriage amendment.
  • The West Virginia House of Delegated rejected a ban on same-sex marriage amendment.
  • The legislature of Arkansas rejected a bill that would have hindered cities and municipalities from setting up domestic parter registries.
  • The Governor of Utah publicly pondered whether the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage had any leeway to allow other forms of recognition.
  • The National Organization for Marriage release a fear-based anti-marriage ad that backfired and resulted in parody.
  • A Miss USA contestant spoke against same-sex marriage and was reviled.

Any one of these might be expected to result in negative reaction. But if this week’s poll is accurate, there has not been an uptick in voter outrage; rather, quite the opposite has occured.

Either this poll is an anomoly, or it provides support for those who claim that America is reaching a tipping point on the issue of marriage equality.

Comments

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Phil
April 28th, 2009 | LINK

I think this poll may be an outlier on the more optimistic side. However, I think its pretty clear that we’ve reached a tipping point where marriage victories no longer spark a backlash.

When the Mass. supreme court first legalized marriage in 2003, there was a substantial DROP in the support for marriage equality. By that standard, even a poll that showed no change in support in the past month could be considered a victory.

Patrick
April 28th, 2009 | LINK

Today’s 18 year olds were still young when Will & Grace, Real World, and other programs were on television. I’ve noticed a big change in their attitudes, even compared to those 5 years older than them.

John
April 28th, 2009 | LINK

I agree that all of these points have had some impact, except for the last. The only “revilement” has come from some of those who apparently live in a bubble thinking most Americans agree with how Prejean was treated. Wrong.

Bruno
April 28th, 2009 | LINK

We’ll see in subsequent polls if this is an outlier, but a 9 point shift belies pure “outliedness” :)

@John: Most Americans couldn’t give a damn how Miss Prejean was treated. It was a salacious Perez Hilton creation that has had most of its legs on the far right, LGBT blogs, and in tabloids/tabloid blogs. None of those audiences represent the independent, swayable voters that passed prop 8.

homer
April 28th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you Maggie Gallagher! She is doing great work promoting same sex marriage!

cowboy
April 28th, 2009 | LINK

Maybe because Governor Huntsman of Utah is a multi-millionaire and could not care less about his political future, I truly think Jon Huntsman, Jr. (a Mormon at that!) has the right stuff when he can stand up against the prevailing political climate and stand for justice and equality for gays.

He just might be the Grand Marshall at a Pride Parade/festivities in Utah one day…and that would really frost some people’s shorts but more importantly it might be the catalyst that could thaw some of the ardent bitterness between some sanctimonious Republicans and us. (Notice I didn’t say all Republicans.)

Last week’s news-conference where Governor Huntsman opined about equality for gays was a jaw-dropper. It may be the seed that gets more Utahns (read: Mormons) to reevaluate their position on gay equality and gay marriage.

And I find it interesting the Utah Attorney General has left himself an “out” with his legal opinion on civil marriages. He was the darling of gays last year for opting for a Hate Crime Bill but he is certainly doing a political balancing act that would suit him for a part in Cirque du Soleil somewhere…maybe.

I’ll see if he rides his Harley in the Pride Parade this year.

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