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Poll Finds 49 Percent Of Arizonans Support Gay Marriage
A survey released Tuesday finds an increase in the number of Arizonans polled support marriage rights for gays and lesbians. The poll was conducted in the days after Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062. LGBT advocates see momentum for marriage equality and challenges on other fronts.
The firm Public Policy Polling spent three days asking nearly 900 hundred Arizona voters, among other things, about their views on gay marriage. Forty-nine percent said they are in favor, 41 percent said they are opposed. That is a nine-point shift in favor of gay marriage from the group's last poll about two years ago.
Public Policy Polling's Director Tom Jensen said Arizona's shifting opinions mirror what his group is seeing nationwide.
"We're even beginning to find support for same-sex marriage in states, not just Arizona, but places like Alaska that you generally think of as being more Republican states," Jensen said. "And when it comes to civil unions, we're really seeing majorities pretty much everywhere."
Jensen said that is true even in states with relatively little support for gay marriage.
The poll also found a majority approved of Gov. Brewer's veto of SB 1062. That bill was slammed as a defense for discrimination against homosexuals and was pushed by the socially conservative lobbying group the Center for Arizona Policy. Responding to this week's poll, CAP President Cathi Herrod blamed the media and popular culture for advocating gay marriage.
"Nothing is inevitable," Herrod said. "We will continue to make the case for why marriage should be defined as only the union of one man and one woman. And we remain hopeful that if we make that case, the Arizona public perception will be with us."
But gay rights activists think the perception of gay marriage will continue to favor them.
"Well, I don't think it's a matter of if, it's a matter of when," said Rebecca Wininger, President of Equality Arizona.
"Personally, I think we might see the (U.S.) Supreme Court do something with this, if not this session, then next session. There are just far too many cases going through different Circuit Courts of Appeals that are going to find (their) way to the Supreme Court for rulings."
But Wininger said groups like hers will still be fighting for things like employee protections and same-sex adoption, even if gay marriage becomes legal.