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Religious Tolerance logo

Single polls about same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions

From 1996 until 1998

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Single polls:

1996-MAR: The Gallup Organization found that 68% of American adults opposed gay marriages; 27% were in favor.

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1996-JUN: An American public opinion poll was taken in by ICR Survey Research Group of Media, PA. Results are correct within ±3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Group Opposed In favor
Overall results 57% 30% 
Females responded


Persons under 35 47% 47%

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1996-SEP: Women in Technology International (WITI) is an "association of 6,000 women, 95% of whom are professional women working in technology organizations." One would expect that the would have a high approval rating of same-sex marriages because they are women and because most women in technology organizations are young. "...for example, the number of undergraduate EE degrees earned by women has leaped nearly 10-fold over the past two decades." The poll results from their membership were not surprising:

Group Opposed In favor
WITI members 18% 80%

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1997-APR-19: A a telephone poll in Oregon found that only 37% of adults favored passing a bill that prohibited same-sex marriages; 56% opposed the bill.

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1997: A variety of polls indicated that women are about evenly divided on whether gays and lesbians should be given equal access marriage. Americans of both genders under the age of 35 are also evenly matched. A minority of registered voters in the US say that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who support gay rights, including gay marriage.

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1998-JUL: Princeton Survey Research Associates conducted a telephone poll for Newsweek magazine on 1998-JUL-28 to 31. Involved were 602 randomly selected adults for the "overall population" responses and 502 randomly selected gay men and lesbians for the "gay" responses. margin of error is 4 and 5%, 19 times out of 20.

Question Overall response Gay/Lesbian response
Approve of legally sanctioned gay marriage 33%  
Legal gay marriage is 'very' or 'somewhat' important   85%
Gays should be allowed to adopt children 36%  
Adoption rights for gays are 'very' or 'somewhat' important   90%

The magazine reported that young adults (ages 18-29 ) were "significantly more accepting of gay marriage" than people over 30. And baby boomers were more accepting than people over 50. 1

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1998-OCT: The Honolulu Star-Bulletin and NBC Hawaii conducted two polls during the weeks before a referendum on same-sex marriages. The referendum gave the Hawaii Legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite sex couples.

Group Opposed In favor
1999-OCT-16/19 25% 62%
1999-OCT-28/29 55% 35%
1999-NOV-5 (Final vote) 69% 29%

The polling company, Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research Inc., attributed the flip-flop to the confusion over the wording of the referendum. Those opposing same-sex marriages were to vote "yes;" those in favor were to vote "no." 2

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The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still accessible today.

  1. Newsweek magazine, 1998-AUG-17, Pages 50-52.
  2. "55% favor ban on same-sex", at:

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Copyright © 1996 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 1996-SEP-25
Latest update: 2011-FEB-27
Author: B.A. Robinson
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