New Poll: 54% of Maryland Voters Would Protect Same-Sex Marriage Law
BALTIMORE, MD -- Polling results released Thursday in a statewide poll conducted July 24-28 by the Hart Research firm on behalf of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, showed that the state's voters approve of marriage for same-sex couples by a 14-point margin (54% to 40%).
"We continue to have the momentum," said Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. "Voters are having conversations on marriage around the dinner table and are agreeing that people should be treated fairly."
The Hart Research poll results showed an increase of support for same-sex marriage than results from similar polls conducted a year ago.
A Public Policy Polling survey done in May a few weeks after President Obama’s announcement of his support of same-sex marriage showed results detailing a 57 to 37 split in favor of same-sex marriage.
African-American voters, the survey noted, are virtually evenly split between supporters (44%) and opponents (45%) - a shift from just few months ago when opponents were up by nine points. The change is largely due to increased discussion of marriage equality following the endorsement of the issue by President Obama and the NAACP.
In the past, that split was much less with significant opposition in the legislative battle for same-sex marriage coming from some of the state's influential black religious leaders.
"We're winning over undecideds and the intensity is clearly on our side," said Levin. "Voters are realizing that this law is about treating our gay friends, family, and neighbors equally under the law, and that no religious institution would be forced to marry anyone they objected to.”
In a phone conversation Tuesday with New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Frank Bruni, Martin O’Malley, the Democratic governor of Maryland, said that he expected Marylanders would indeed validate the new law, which he not only signed but campaigned vigorously for. All along O’Malley sagely framed the issue not only in terms of basic human rights but also in terms of family values: specifically, the legal safeguards afforded children of same-sex couples, whose status as “married” would be a force for stability.
“I believe that the people of our state are supportive of protecting religious freedom and human dignity and protecting every child’s home equally under the law,” O’Malley said.
Kevin Nix, a marriage equality activist for the Human Rights Campaign, told LGBTQNation that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the fate of the outcome of the vote in November on the ballot referendum in Maryland. [The latest poll] “is yet another indication of our momentum, particularly among African-American voters.”
HRC Releases Comprehensive Survey of Congressional Positions on Marriage Equality
WASHINGTON -- The Human Rights Campaign released a comprehensive survey of the marriage equality positions of Members of Congress Thursday. The new survey, a first-of-its-kind, shows that the Congress is behind the public's position and support for same-sex marriage. The survey results available online here, combines Members’ marriage positions with their record on other critical LGBT issues in one searchable database. Support for marriage equality will also be noted in HRC’s Congressional Scorecard published in the fall.
“As a majority of Americans have come to support the ability of loving and committed gay and lesbian couples to marry, they rightfully want to know whether their elected officials share that fair-minded view,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“Many Members of Congress are commendably with the public, but Congress is always a lagging indicator. It’s time for more of our leaders to get on the right side of history.”
Among both the House and Senate, 181 members support marriage equality (34 percent). 234 have made statements against (44 percent) and 122 have an unclear or unknown position (23 percent). 36 Senators and 145 Representatives support marriage equality with 52 Senators and 182 Representatives opposed.
All 100 Senators, 431 sitting Representatives and 6 Delegates were asked whether or not they agreed with this statement:
“Gay and lesbian couples should not be denied the ability to pledge their love and commitment through the civil institution of marriage. I believe that two committed adults of the same sex should be able to receive a government-issued marriage license, while religious institutions retain their right to determine which marriages they will perform.”
HRC supplemented that survey with other publicly available statements. Members who did not respond or whose positions are unclear are labeled as such.
Among Democrats, support is at 72 percent with 9 percent opposed and 19 percent unclear or unknown. Only one Republican in Congress supports marriage equality – Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.
Support is strongest in the East (58 percent) and the West (51 percent) and weakest in the Midwest (25 percent) and the South (15 percent). In states where gay and lesbian couples can marry, 69 percent of Senators and Representatives support marriage equality while 17 percent are opposed. And in the four states facing marriage-related ballot measures in November, 56 percent of leaders are supportive of marriage equality with 21 percent opposed.
Nationally, support for marriage equality among the public is at 54 percent according to a June 2012 CNN poll. While marriages are performed on a state level, federal elected officials play a role in the marriage equality debate including efforts to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act barring the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples. Additionally some Member of Congress continue to advocate for a Federal Marriage Amendment that would write discrimination into the Constitution and bar loving and committed gay and lesbian couples from marriage in any state.