Responding to a new poll showing more
Virginians support gay marriage than oppose it, Governor Bob
McDonnell defended the state's constitutional ban.
survey released Tuesday by The Washington Post found 47
percent of Virginians support allowing gay and lesbian couples to
marry, while 43% remain opposed.
But McDonnell, a Republican, insisted
the matter was settled.
“The people of Virginia have spoken
by a margin of 57-43,” McDonnell said on a conference call with
reporters from Shanghai. “They’ve already enshrined in the
Virginia Constitution that gay marriage is not permitted, so unless
there is another effort to change the Constitution, that matter is
settled. That is the law of the land and, look, reasonable people can
disagree on these things. That’s what the law is now. That’s
something that I support. That was the right decision.”
Virginia's constitutional amendment was
approved in 2006.
According to three nationwide polls, a
majority of Americans narrowly support marriage equality. A
Washington Post-ABC News survey released in March found 53
percent of Americans in favor of gay marriage, while 43 percent
remain opposed. That is a 17 point increase in support over the last
Gay marriage supporters in the state
lamented the fact that increasing support on the issue was unlikely
to prompt repeal.
“We knew that public opinion was
evolving,” Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, a spokeswoman for Equality
Virginia, told the paper. “You end up leaving us in a posture
where the public has moved and the policymakers haven't and won't.”