Poll: Sharp Breaks on Gay Marriage Issues

As same-sex marriage becomes moves toward becoming the norm in New England states and squarely in the American consciousness, opinion on it couldn’t be much more fragmented.

A poll released by Quinnipiac University shows sharp breaks between Protestants and Catholics on the issue in addition to how it should be addressed at the state and federal level.

An example of the Protestant-Catholic division highlighted in the study is civil unions, which allows gay and lesbian couples to share many benefits as traditional couples, most notably health-related privileges. The study shows Catholics approve of civil unions 68-27 while the rejection of it – 61-34 – is an almost direct counterpoint to white evangelicals. Similarly on gay adoption, Catholics support it 61-33, while evangelicals oppose 64-30.

On the whole Americans differentiate between gay marriages and civil unions. A clear majority of poll respondents do not want their state to allow gay marriage (55-38), and they want the states, not the federal government, to dictate where the marriages take place (50-44). On civil unions there is broader support, with a 54-39 margin in major of repealing federal law which denies spousal benefits to same-sex couples.

The poll, which also addresses the role of gays in the military, clearly illustrates consensus on gay rights topics is unrealistic any time soon.

“Lifting the ban on gays in the military has public support as does repealing part, but not all, of the key sections of the federal Defense of Marriage Act,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“Americans support the part of that federal law allowing states to refuse to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. But they want to repeal another part of the law that bans the federal government from recognizing gay marriage for any purpose, the most important of which would be eligibility for federal financial benefits such as spousal Social Security benefits.”


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