A new poll finds a narrow plurality of
Virginians opposed to the legalization of gay marriage.
According to the survey by the
University of Mary Washington (UMW) Center for Leadership and Media
Studies, 45 percent of respondents favor marriage equality, while 46
percent remain opposed. Nine percent refused to answer.
In 2006, voters approved an amendment
to Virginia's constitution defining marriage as a heterosexual union
by a 57-43 margin.
“Rarely does public opinion shift on
a social issue as rapidly as it has for gay marriage,” Stephen
Farnsworth, director of the university's Center for Leadership and
Media Studies, told the Eagle
Eye, an UMW newsletter. “While opposition to gay marriage
remains stronger here than nationally, the rapid erosion of that
opposition among Virginians in the years since the 2006 amendment is
The shift in Virginia appears to be
generational. While a majority of people under the age of 44 support
gay nuptials (66 percent for those under 30, 54 percent for those
30-44), people 45 and older remain strongly opposed (56 percent for
those 45-65, 65 percent for those 65 and over).
Sixty-one percent of Democrats and 64
percent of Hispanics surveyed favor marriage equality, while 71
percent of Republicans and 54 percent of African-Americans remain