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Gay Marriage Ban Stands Amid Shifting Public Opinion

The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8, meaning the ban on gay marriage passed by California voters last November will stand. The ruling comes as public opinion appears to be shifting on gay marriage, but those movements have yet to translate into electoral wins for supporters of same-sex marriage.

Prop. 8 passed in November with 52 percent in favor, 48 percent opposed. And a Public Policy Institute of California poll (PDF) conducted in March of this year found residents of the Golden State still about evenly split on whether gay and lesbian couples should have the right to marry legally (44 percent said they favor it, 49 percent were against).

The same poll showed that opponents in California were far more likely than supporters of same-sex marriage to say the Supreme Court's ruling on Prop. 8 was "very important" to them, placing political intensity with the opponents. But time has been on the side of the supporters of gay marriage: opposition to gay marriage was significantly higher at the start of the decade, when 55 percent of Californians were against legalizing those unions.

Nationally, public support for legal recognition of same-sex couples has also been on the upswing, with a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showing for the first time more in favor of legal marriage than opposed.

Underneath the overall trend is evidence the tide toward greater acceptance may continue: support for legal marriage of gay couples is significantly higher among younger adults - particularly those under age 30, nearly half of whom "strongly support" legal marriage - than it is among older Americans.

Despite the shift in public opinion, it's unclear whether the movement can gain success at the ballot box going forward. Initiatives or referenda seeking to ban gay marriage have won passage in 26 states since 1998, when Alaska voters approved the first such ballot measure, and in most cases these measures have succeeded by large margins, even in states with a more liberal bent such as Michigan and Oregon.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  May 26, 2009; 1:11 PM ET
Categories:  Crosstabs , Polls  
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Comments

I am a strait woman... that believes in “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all”… it does not say with “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all straight people”…

Posted by: kdnsd | May 26, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Your article is a joke. How do you suppose that more Americans support gay marriage than oppose it if even most Californians are against it? There's something clearly wrong with the polls.

Posted by: miyago123 | May 26, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey Strait woman, did you learn to spell in public schools also ? STRAIGHT ! In California ANY couple can go to a Justice of the peace, Have a cerimony, and Legally get ALL the rights of a spouse, medical, 401k, dental, so What are they deprived of ? please tell me, at my Giant Aerospace co. they have domestic partners, you register,and your partner gets all of your bennifits( medical, dental)OH did I mention This "IS NOT" offered to Straight couples, and THEY ( Gay couples )can change who their domestic partner is every 2 years. BUT NO BENNIFITS GIVEN TO STRAIGHT COUPLES ! And Thats fair ? Thats equality ? we give and give but its never enough for some groups of people, who seek to find equality in the eyes of others...

Posted by: thewirefam | May 26, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Dear THEWIREFAM: Kettle, Black. Bennifits? Cerimony? How about you learning how to spell?

Posted by: luv2bikva | May 26, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention failure to use an apostrophe in the contractions "that's" (that is) and "it's" (it is).

Posted by: kitcarlson | May 26, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

By upholding Proposition 8; Gay Marriage Ban, the court has affirmed?

A. The rights of the Majority over the Minority

B. 'Marriage' is the union & right reserved for opposite sex

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=5353

.

Posted by: usadblake | May 26, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

miyago123,

Your article is a joke. How do you suppose that more Americans support gay marriage than oppose it if even most Californians are against it? There's something clearly wrong with the polls.

------------------

I have little hope that you'll understand how there can be a difference, but here it is:

The poll is a random sampling, the election is not a random sampling.

Posted by: James10 | May 26, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Slaves got freed, women eventually got to vote, civil rights amendments finally passed. Hang in there and keep trying - eventually same-sex marriages will be allowed. No one has the right to deny other U.S. citizens their inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness based on the writings (done by fallible humans) based on the guidance of an imaginary supreme being. The protesters are so blinkered and blinded they do not see the future is coming, whether they will or not. If they truly have faith in their supreme being, they should remember Matthew 7:12.

Posted by: johnclord | May 26, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Until there is a constitutional AMENDMENT, it is right and fitting for the individual states to draft their own laws and rules regarding marriage, and however those land is just fine.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 26, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

thewirefam: I think this may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I normally dislike hearing people being critical of people's spelling, since it is highly possible that someone with poor spelling (ie restricted access to learning opportunities)may have a worthy contribution to any debate. Being mean about someone's spelling suggests that the person being mean doesn't really have any thing serious to say. BUT, to be mean about someone's spelling AND to write that mean comment with glaringly dreadful spelling must rile even the most mild-mannered of readers!

Posted by: adamjacobbryant | May 27, 2009 6:01 AM | Report abuse

thewirefam: I think this may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I normally dislike hearing people being critical of people's spelling, since it is highly possible that someone with poor spelling (for whatever reason, such as restricted access to learning opportunities)may have a worthy contribution to any debate. Being mean about someone's spelling suggests that the person being mean doesn't really have any thing serious to say. BUT, to be mean about someone's spelling AND to write that mean comment with glaringly dreadful spelling must rile even the most mild-mannered of readers!

Posted by: adamjacobbryant | May 27, 2009 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Poor spelling aside, what thewirefam does not understand is that benefits offered to domestic partners are not equal to those of married couples, and there is no protection at the federal level. Should one of the domestic partners die, the other cannot collect social security benefits as straight married couples do, nor can they inherit the other's property without incurring taxes. Health insurance benefits for domestic partners are also taxed, whereas straight married couples enjoy a tax break for the very same benefits. These are benefits and protections that cannot be drafted in a contract with a lawyer, because in the eyes of federal law, committed gay couples are legal strangers.

Posted by: bftgrrl | May 27, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

By upholding prop.8, the California Supreme Court has admitted the weakness of its initial arguments to strike down prop 22. If the definition of marriage creates a true "separate but equal" classification for some citizens in an actual "civil rights" frame of reference, then of course prop.8 is a major revision of the California constitution. It could not stand. The fact that the California Supreme Court had to finally admit that the California domestic laws treat all its couples the same way, and that maintaining the definition of marriage did not abrogate anyone's real civil rights in California demonstrates the weakness of the original legal reasoning, which tried to put the justices' social opinions into a legal holding through flawed reasoning. Everyone should be grateful that the citizens of California gave the justices an opportunity to be honest with themselves and the citizenry of the state.

Posted by: captn_ahab | May 28, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

By upholding Proposition 8; Gay Marriage Ban, the court has affirmed?

A. The rights of the Majority over the Minority

B. 'Marriage' is the union & right reserved for opposite sex

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=5353


.

Posted by: usadblake | May 29, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

By upholding propostion 8, the CA SC showed that their reasoning in striking down proposition 22 was legally weak. If the marriage laws truly created a separate but equal situation and sexual orientation was really a suspect class, then prop.8 was more than just carving out a narrow constitutional niche. It was a change in civil rights in the CA constitution, and therefore a true revision.

Clearly the CA court did not believe that prop.8 really created a separate, but equal situation for a suspect class.

They should be congratulated on being honest and admitting that their initial finding overstepped the separation of powers in CA.

Posted by: captn_ahab | May 29, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Gay/lesbian groups are really going about this the wrong way.

Civil unions do not work mainly because they are different/void in different states which cause issues when traveling or if you work in one state but live in another.

Take the word "marriage" out and make a federal code for legal privaleges "what this is all really about" such as inheratance rights, joint tax rights, medical disclosure etc. to be shared among the states.

Making this a "states: issue is facing the same problem all issues in America have historically faced,
a rag tag collection of ever changing regionalized laws and exceptions which are very difficult to enforce.

The same reasoning Bush gave for FEMA can be applied to this, legal, medical, and private agencies need to be able to communicate on the same page.

Posted by: againstthecurrents | May 30, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

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