Thursday, July 22, 2010

New polls in California narrowly favor marriage equality

Two new polls to notice. First, a new Field Poll finds 51% of the Golden State favors same sex marriage rights.

The SF Chronicle cautions:
Although a majority of California voters say they support same-sex marriage, that endorsement is as tenuous as it was two years ago when voters told pollsters that they approved of the idea but still voted to ban the marriages.

A Field Poll scheduled to be released today shows little has changed since May 2008, when 51 percent of voters said they supported same-sex marriage, only to ban it by approving Proposition 8 six months later.
So we're back where we started.

Meanwhile, Public Religion Research also has some numbers:

•Only one-in-five (22%) Californians believe the passage of Proposition 8 was a “good thing” for the state. Most Californians believe Proposition 8 was either a bad thing for California (29%) or believe it has not made any difference (45%).....

•If another vote similar to Proposition 8 were held tomorrow, a majority (51%) say they would vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, compared to 45% who say they would vote to keep same-sex marriage illegal.

•There are major religious groups on both sides of the debate over same-sex marriage in California. Solid majorities of Latino Catholics and white mainline Protestants say they would vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, while solid majorities of white evangelical Protestants, Latino Protestants, and African American Protestants say they would vote to keep same-sex marriage illegal....

•There is a striking Catholic-Protestant divide within the California Latino community on public policy issues related to gay and lesbian rights. A majority of Latino Catholics (57%) say they would vote to allow gay and lesbian couple to marry, compared to just 22% of Latino Protestants.....

•.... Mainline Protestants are the only major religious group that is more likely to hear positive than negative messages about homosexuality from their clergy.
Diana Butler Bass writes in the HuffPo:
It is not the job of religious communities to legally deny marriage to homosexual couples; it is their job to make sure that homosexual people make healthy, faithful, and respectful moral decisions regarding the exercise of their sexuality.....Progressive and mainline clergy seem to be having an impact on ways in which the Bible is interpreted: Californians who heard "positive messages from the clergy" about gay and lesbian people overwhelming supported either same-sex marriage (60 percent) or civil unions (22 percent).

H/T James

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