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Public opinion polls: 2006-APR/MAY

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In this essay, and others, "SSM" means "same-sex marriage."
We use the term "SSM" rather than the more commonly used term "homosexual marriage" because many same-sex marriages and committed relationships are composed of one or more bisexuals.

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2006-APR public opinion poll:

Poll results vary greatly according to the exact questions asked, and whether the subjects were able to select from multiple options.

Peter D. Hart Research Associates" They conducted a poll in 2006-APR among 802 registered voters. The margin of error is ~+mn~ 3.5 percentage points:

bullet When asked "Would you support amending the Constitution to make it unconstitutional for homosexual couples to get married anywhere in the U.S. or should each state make its own laws on homosexual marriage?" Results were:
bullet 49%: Each state should make its own laws.
bullet 33%: Favor amending the U.S. Constitution
bullet 18%: Not sure.
bullet When asked whether they agreed with the statement: "Regardless of how I feel about gay people getting married, I have concerns about changing the Constitution over this issue," results were:
bullet 46% strongly agreed,
bullet 17% somewhat agreed,
bullet 11% somewhat disagreed,
bullet 21% strongly disagreed.
bullet Political independents were 62% in agreement; Roman Catholics were 69% and seniors 63%.
bullet Support for SSM appears to be dropping even as support for civil unions is increasing. Results for a poll in 2004-MAY and 2006-APR were:
Preference 2004-MAY poll 2006-APR poll
Gay/lesbian couples should have the same right to marry as men and women do. 27% 25%
Give civil unions or other legal rights to same-sex couples 34% 40%
Give no legal regulation to gay or lesbian couples 36% 33%

The Human Rights Campaign, a gay-positive human rights group, wrote:

bullet "Catholic voters are especially wary of the amendment. Majorities of Catholic voters say states should make their own marriage laws (53 percent, while only 37 percent support the amendment). When asked about the statement 'Marriage is about love and commitment. Regardless of how I personally feel about gay people getting married, I don't think it's my place to judge these people's love for and commitment to each other,' an overwhelming 80 percent agreed."
bullet "General political environment for gay issues is changing. In a similar survey done by Hart in May 2004, only 40 percent of voters said it was very important that we ensure gays and lesbians receive the same rights under law as other Americans. In this poll, 51 percent said it was very important." That is an unusually large change in 23 months. 13

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2006-MAY public opinion poll:

Gallup Poll: They conducted a poll among 1,002 American adults from 2006-MAY-08-11. The margin of error is about 3 percentage points. Results were:

bullet On extending marriage to include same-sex couples:
bullet 58% are opposed.
bullet 39% are in favor
bullet 3% are undecided or did not respond.
bullet On amending the federal Constitution to ban same-sex marriage:
bullet 50% favor an amendment
bullet 47% are opposed
bullet 3% are undecided or did not respond.
bullet The trends appears to be towards decreased opposition for same-sex marriage. The Gallup Organization asked "Do you think marriages between homosexuals should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?" They reported opposition at:
bullet 68% in 1996-MAR;
bullet 62% in 1999-FEB;
bullet 59% in 2005-AUG;
bullet 58% in 2006-MAY.

Timing is very important for the FMA. If the trend continues at this rate, opposition to SSM will reach a minority position before the year 2015. If religious and social conservatives are unable to have the FMA passed by congress and ratified by 76 states in the near future, public opinion may turn against them. 15,16

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A bit of perspective....

It may be worth noting that:

bullet In 1948, about 90% of American Adults opposed interracial marriage when the Supreme Court of California legalized it. 18
bullet In 1967, about 72% were opposed to interracial marriage when it was legalized everywhere in the U.S. by the Supreme Court in 1967. 17
bullet In 1991, those adults opposed to interracial marriage became a minority. 17

During this interval, the opposition to interracial marriage dropped by a little under one percentage point per year. This is surprisingly close to the rate at which opposition to SSM is currently dropping.

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References used:

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

  1. "Oppose the 'Federal Marriage Amendment' (S.J. Res. 1)," Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 2005-APR-12, at:
  2. "Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Discriminatory Constitutional Amendment, ACLU Denounces Amending the Constitution Behind Closed Doors," ACLU, 2006-MAY-18, at:
  3. "NAACP Testimony in Opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment,"  NAACP, 2004-MAR-04, at:
  4. "NAACP Board Chairman Bond Is Featured Speaker at Equality Maryland Jazz Brunch," NAACP, 2005-N0V-23, at:
  5. "An Open Letter to the U.S. Senate from America’s Clergy," Clergy for Fairness, at:
  6. "UCC joins Clergy for Fairness campaign to oppose Federal Marriage Amendment," United Church of Christ, 2006-MAY-26, at:
  7. "Cardinals Back Marriage Amendment," National Catholic Register, 2006-MAY-21-27, at:
  8. Tony Perkins, "Ask Congress to Put Children First - Sign our Marriage Petition," Family Research Council, 2006-APR-27, at:
  9. "The Marriage Protection Pledge," Family Research Council, 2005-OCT-02, at:
  10. "U.S. Senate To Vote On Homosexual Marriage June 6TH. The most important vote in the Senate this year! The future of our children is at stake," American Family Association, undated, at:
  11. "Voice Your Values for Marriage Before the Senate Votes!," Family Research Council mailing, 2006-MAY-30.
  12. ACLJ radio program, Sirius channel 159, week of 2006-JUN-02.
  13. "HRC poll shows marriage amendment not priority for voters," 2006-MAY-09, at:
  14. Allie Martin, Jody Brown, and Rusty Pugh," Agape Press, 2006-JUN-02, at:
  15. "GOP renews fight against gay marriage. Bush calls for amendment, but critics see election-year diversion," CNN, 2006-JUN-05, at:
  16. Michael Foust, "Gallup poll: 58 percent oppose 'gay marriage,' half support amend.,"
    Baptist Press, 2006-MAY-22, at:
  17. John Rogers, "Kung Fu Monkey" blog, 2005-MAR-16, at:
  18. Gail Mathabane, "Gays face same battle interracial couples fought," USA Today, 2004-JAN-25.

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Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-MAY-25
Latest update: 2006-JUN-05
Author: B.A. Robinson

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