You could make the case — at this point, I would — that the hottest ticket on the May 8 ballot in North Carolina isn’t the GOP presidential primary or the gubernatorial primaries. Rather, it is a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.
The Elon University Poll results are clear that most residents — 54% — oppose the amendment. Support for full marriage rights for same sex couples or civil unions has gotten stronger in each of the four Elon polls over the past year.
Why the shift? From the Los Angeles Times: Proponents of gay marriage, who traditionally frame the cause as a matter of equality and civil rights, are increasingly invoking something else: family. And the tactic seems to be working.
The message “used to be one that focused on rights, parity in benefits,” said Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group based in Washington, D.C. Since about 2008, Sainz said, same-sex marriage activists have begun “talking about love, honor and commitment.”
Looking deeper into the results indicate that women strongly oppose the amendment banning same-sex marriage. When I say strongly, I’m talking 63%. Breaking it down even more, 42% of women said they supported full marriage rights for same-sex couples and 26% said they wouldn’t go that far but would support civil unions. Men weren’t nearly as supportive: 28% said they supported full marriage rights and 29% supported civil unions.
Other trends in North Carolina:
* Self-described liberals are much stronger in support of some sort of legal recognition for same-sex couples (87%) than self-described conservatives are in their opposition (47%). In fact, 51% of conservatives support legal recognition of sam-sex couples.
* A majority of all age groups oppose the amendment. People 55 and older have the softest opposition, but 56% of them still said they would support either full marriage rights for same sex couples or civil unions.
Despite the trends, there is good reason to think that the amendment may pass. I explain that….in my next post. (Just like American Idol does when it breaks for commercial.)
The News & Observer news story on the same-sex marriage poll results.
— John Robinson