A huge bankroll for gay marriage
opponents in California has not swayed many voters. In fact, a new
poll reveals cash-strapped proponents winning.
A new report from The Field Poll
released Thursday shows dwindling support for Proposition 8, the
constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in California.
The poll found a majority of likely voters (55%) against the
amendment, with only 38% saying they would vote for it. The number
of Proposition 8 supporters has fallen four percentage points since
July's survey, while gay marriage proponents have increased four
percent in the same time period. The number of undecided (7%) voters
has remained unchanged.
Political and religious affiliations
appear to be the two most likely factors influencing voters.
Democrats favor gay marriage the most,
with nearly seventy-five percent backing the idea that gay couples
should have the right to marry; Republicans hold a nearly inverse
view. Only twenty-seven percent of Republicans support gay marriage.
Democrats and Republicans in the State
are ostensibly in step with the views expressed by their leaders.
While Senator Barack Obama supports civil unions over marriage for
gay couples, he has also said he supports defeat of Proposition 8.
Senator John McCain offers an opposing view. The Arizona Senator
voted against a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage,
but he did so because he believed it was matter to be decided
by the states. Since that time, he has said he does not support
marriage or marriage-like rights for gay and lesbian couples, and
campaigned for a similar gay ban in Arizona in 2006.
However, while the report suggests
conforming political ideologies, religious voters appear to hold
diverging views on gay marriage.
Senior Protestant bishops in the State
have voiced their opposition to the gay marriage ban. Still, a
majority of protestants polled (52%) say they oppose gay marriage.
Last week, California's six most senior protestant bishops released a
gay-affirming statement saying marriage would enhance the “Christian
values” of monogamy, love and commitment for gay and lesbian
“Jesus calls us to love rather than
hate, to give rather than to receive, to live into hope rather than
fear,” says the statement signed by California's six most senior
bishops. “We believe that this continued access [to gay marriage]
promotes Jesus' ethic of love, giving, and hope.”
The poll reveals just the opposite for
Catholics, where a majority (55%) back gay marriage despite calls
from their leaders to oppose it.
Pope Benedict, the head of the Catholic
church, has often condemned homosexuality while rallying against gay
“The union of love, based on
matrimony between a man and a woman, which makes up the family,
represents a good for all society that can not be substituted by,
confused with, or compared to other types of unions,” Benedict said
a day after the California Supreme Court overruled a 2000
voter-approved gay marriage ban.
Catholic leaders in California have
heeded the call, forming coalitions and donating millions in support
of the gay marriage ban.
“We're asking people to volunteer to
help in parishes, to participate in telephoning, talking with
neighbors,” Bill May, chairman of Catholics for the Common Good,
told the Catholic News Service. “This is a really important
issue. Marriage is the foundation of the family. People are very
upset that the [State] Supreme Court overruled the will of the
While the health of Proposition 8
appears to be in question, it is most certainly not dead. Opponents
of gay marriage continue to flood the State with millions of dollars;
over $5 million has been raised since Sept. 1.
Proponents of gay marriage say their
money-raising efforts are trailing significantly, raising fears that
an expensive, last-minute campaign against gay marriage could
eliminate marriage rights for gay couples in the State.
“They are raising an unprecedented
amount of money to eliminate an existing right that lesbian and gay
people now have,” Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors
told the Southern Voice.