Washington state voters continue to
reject gay marriage even after ratifying a law that recognizes gay
and lesbian couples with domestic partnerships, a new poll found.
by the University of Washington found only 41% of respondents in
favor of gay marriage, a figure lower than the national average.
In the survey, pollsters asked 1,252
registered voters how gay couples should be recognized. Forty-one
percent answered with marriage, 23% said give them all the rights but
not marriage, while another 14% said gay couples should only be
entitled to limited rights. A small minority, 19%, said they should
not be offered any legal recognition.
The poll comes 7 months after voters
ratified a domestic partnership law approved by lawmakers that gives
gay and lesbian couples all the state-provided rights, benefits and
responsibilities of marriage, except the name. Voters agreed to keep
the domestic partnership law after gay rights opponents put it up for
In Iowa, where the state Supreme Court
legalized gay marriage in 2009, a majority of Iowans (53%) say they
support the ruling. Similar trends can be found in other states that
have extended marriage to gay couples.
Nationwide polls show Americans support
gay marriage in higher numbers. A recent Gallup poll found support
for the institution up 4 percentage points from last year to 44%.
In explaining the results, Josh
Friedes, executive director of Equal
Rights Washington, told the
Huffington Post that the challenge ahead is convincing
people to move from supporting domestic partnerships with all the
rights of marriage to marriage.
“Now our challenge is to help this
23% of voters understand that it is impossible to provide the rights
and benefits of marriage to Washington's gay and lesbian citizens
without providing marriage itself,” Friedes said.
He also added that without marriage gay
and lesbian couples would not be able “to make progress towards
important federal protections.”