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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Support Rises for Civil Unions for Gay Couples

The Associated Press reported today that an increasing majority of Americans favors allowing same-sex couples to obtain most of the same rights as married straight couples, but only 39 percent support legalization of same-sex marriage, according to a poll released Friday. The Pew Research Center said support for civil unions has risen to 57 percent, up from 54 percent a year ago and 45 percent when the question was first asked by Pew in 2003.

Views on legalizing same-sex marriage remained almost unchanged from last year, with 53 percent opposed and 39 percent in favor, the center said.

Supporters of same-sex marriage were divided over the best way to pursue legalization. Forty-five percent of those surveyed favored pushing hard to legalize it as soon as possible, while 42 percent said pushing too hard for swift legalization might trigger a backlash against gays and lesbians.

There was more support for same-sex marriage among women, adults under 30 and college-educated people.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, and will begin in New Hampshire in January.

A November referendum in Maine will determine the fate of a same-sex marriage bill passed by the Legislature in May, and the City Council in Washington, D.C., is to vote soon on the issue.

This article appeared on page A - 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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