A plurality of Hawaii voters support
the legalization of gay marriage, according to a new poll released on
The survey by Public
Policy Polling shows 49 percent of respondents okay with giving
gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, while 40 percent object.
11 percent said they are not sure.
In 1997, Hawaii began recognizing gay
couples with reciprocal beneficiary relationships, which gives
couples access to a limited number of state benefits, including
inheritance rights, workers' compensation, health insurance, hospital
visitation and healthcare decision making. Couples in a reciprocal
beneficiary relationship can also jointly own property.
Afters years of campaigning by gay
rights activists, Hawaii's civil unions law will take effect on
January 1, 2012.
When civil unions are included as an
option, a large majority of voters say they back gay unions.
Seventy-seven percent of voters support
recognizing gay couples with either marriage or civil unions, while
only 22 percent oppose all government recognition of gay couples. Of
those in favor, 90 percent are Democrats, 77 percent are independents
and 59 percent are Republicans.