Poll shows growing support for same-sex marriage

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Marriage equality activists logged more than 700,000 conversations about marriage and equality in California in the last year.

A poll released in late March indicates that now, for the first time in the state’s history, 50 percent of Californians support legalizing marriage for same-sex couples.

“Our efforts are working,” proclaimed a statement from Equality California, which has played a leadership role in lobbying for same-sex marriage legislation and fought Proposition 8, the 2008 constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

“We have the largest, full-time, experienced field staff working on marriage equality in the movement and they, in partnership with key coalition allies, are mobilizing thousands of volunteers on the ground in the nine regions of California where we most need to move people,” said EC executive director Geoff Kors, who hopes momentum is building to overturn Prop 8.

The survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California showed support for gay marriage in California climbed six percentage points in the past year to 50 percent. Support among adults has never surpassed 45 percent since the question was first asked by PPIC in January 2000.

“This is the kind of dramatic, ground-shifting movement we believed was possible,” Kors said.

The institute surveyed 2,002 registered voters by phone from March 9-16 in a wide-ranging poll about “Californians and Their Government.”

The poll, with a sampling error rate of plus or minus 2 percentage points, found voters dissatisfied with government affairs – the state legislature’s approval-rating was 9 percent and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rating was a record-low of 25.

The survey also found majority support for immigration reform and a proposition to change the state’s primary election process, a partisan split over healthcare reform and, on the issue of same-sex marriage, more Californians for legalized gay marriage than against – 50 percent for, 45 percent against.

Majorities of Democrats (64 percent) and independents (55 percent) were in favor of legal same-sex marriage, and most Republicans (67 percent) were opposed.

With support for gay marriage rising, the Let California Ring coalition of more than 50 civil rights groups is moving forward with recommendations developed from an analysis of 75 studies related to the issue.

The coalition is investing more than $15 million over the next couple of years to:

  • Develop tailored messaging for all audiences, with a focus on African-American, Asian Pacific Islander and Latino Californians.
  • Deliver marriage equality messages with a multi-media campaign that employs television, print and radio advertising, as well as online outreach.
  • Share the stories of married same-sex couples with audiences throughout the state.
  • Organize on school campuses.
  • Engage faith-based allies.

“Let California Ring’s model of concerted action is the surest and fastest way to win the freedom to marry,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry. “By combining the air-cover of media with the groundwork of engaging in the needed conversations – person-to-person, group-to-group – the menu of actions spurred by Let California Ring will persuade the persuadable and help everyone we reach together rise to fairness.”

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