Poll: Majority Of Virginians Support Same-Sex Marriage
A new poll seems to show that a majority of Virginians, who just seven years ago overwhelmingly approved a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, are now in support of same-sex marriage:
After 57% of Virginia voters approved a state ban on same-sex marriage just five years ago, opinions on same-sex marriage appear to have shifted significantly according to new numbers produced by a bipartisan pair of pollsters.
The new poll released by the Human Rights Campaign found that 55% of Virginians now support gay marriage. The poll, conducted by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and the Republican firm Target Point Consulting, asked questions about attitudes toward the LGBT community in Virginia immediately following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and not uphold California’s same-sex marriage ban.
In Virginia, nearly four in 10 (37%) describe their attitudes toward LGBT people as growing more accepting while just 5% describe it less accepting, the Human Rights Campaign found.
The state has deep geographic divides however. In the relatively more liberal northern areas near Washington, D.C., 68% say they favor same-sex marriage, but in the central parts of the state support is more closely split (53%-42%) and it’s even closer in the eastern coastal areas (51%-47%). In the more conservative western areas of the state, respondents said they opposed legalizing gay marriage, 35%-63%.
This is something of a marked shift from a poll that came out less than two months ago that showed 46% of Virginians oppose same-sex marriage while 45% oppose it, although that in itself was a significant shift from 2006 when 57% of Virginia voters voted in favor of the Marshall-Newman Amendment. Admittedly, this poll may be slightly biased because it comes via an organization that is in favor of marriage equality. However, there”s definitely been a shift in public opinion on this issue here in the Commonwealth.
I wouldn’t expect a change in Virginia law via the legislative process anytime soon, though. Because it was passed as an amendment to the State Constitution, repeal can only happen via another Amendment. That means passage by both houses of the state legislature in two different sessions and approval by the voters in a statewide referendum at the next available General Election, or by a Constitutional Convention which can only be called if approved by 2/3 of the members of both house of the legislature. Given the political makeup of the legislature, that simply isn’t going to happen any time soon.