WASHINGTON (ABP) — Two new polls seem to provide more bad news for supporters of gay rights and the candidates who court them.
Polls recently released by National Public Radio and the Family Research Council show strong opposition both to legalizing same-sex marriage or “civil unions” as well as to candidates who support them.
The NPR survey, conducted by a bipartisan team of pollsters, showed 56 percent of respondents opposed gay marriage, while 30 percent were in support. It also showed that if President Bush declared opposition to legalizing same-sex civil unions — which offer many of the same legal benefits as marriage — and faced a generic Democratic candidate who supported them, Bush would win by a 51 percent to 35 percent margin.
Most of the major Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination have announced their support for civil unions.
When asked, apart from the civil-unions question, if they would support Bush or the Democrats' nominee in the 2004 election, respondents to the poll favored the president by a much smaller margin — 46 percent to 42 percent.
The survey of 1,002 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.
Bush has indicated opposition to gay marriage, but has not yet given a firm indication of whether he would support a current attempt in Congress to ban gay marriage on the federal level. He also has not expressed an opinion on legalizing civil unions.
In addition, a new Zogby International poll shows 52 percent of likely Massachusetts voters oppose legalizing gay marriage. The poll was released by the Family Research Council and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
Several polls have indicated slipping support for same-sex marriage and civil unions following two major court decisions last year. In July, the Supreme Court overturned state laws banning gay sex, and in November, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared that the state must give same-sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples.
In related news:
— The New Jersey legislature and governor are expected to approve, by Jan. 13, a new bill creating legal “domestic partnerships.” The bill would grant to same-sex or cohabiting couples who meet certain requirements many of the same benefits as marriage.
— Several organizations opposed to same-sex marriage have formed a group called the Coalition for Marriage. The organization's supporters include the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family and the Massachusetts Catholic Conference. A Family Research Council press release said the Washington-based group had moved several of its staff to Massachusetts to advocate for same-sex-only marriage in the commonwealth.