Maine: Majority Back Gay Marriage

A new poll shows that  a ballot question that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Maine has strong support –  55 percent of respondents favor a state law to allow same-sex couples to marry. The poll question closely mirrored the one proposed by advocates of gay marriage, including a phrase saying the law would exempt clergy members from performing same-sex marriages if doing so conflicted with their religious beliefs.

Mainers United for Marriage, which is campaigning for the new law, said the poll tracked with national surveys showing increasing support for gay marriage.

“Polling in Maine — and around the country — consistently shows that voters are changing their minds about allowing same-sex couples to receive a marriage license,” said Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, in a written statement. “In the past two years, we’ve had more than 88,000 one-on-one conversations with Maine voters, and we can see a difference.”

But opponents said polling on gay marriage is often flawed. Frank Schubert, a political consultant who is working on the marriage issue nationwide, said polls consistently show more support for gay marriage than actually exists because people aren’t always truthful in the surveys.

In the final days of the campaign to repeal the gay marriage law that Maine’s Legislature passed in 2009, statewide polls showed support for same-sex marriage with 8- and 10-point leads. Ultimately, 53 percent voted to repeal the law, while 47 percent voted to uphold it.

Public Policy Polling, a national firm, is expected to release a poll today showing that support for gay marriage has increased in Washington state, where opponents of a recently enacted gay-marriage law are attempting to overturn it.

Steve Mistler — 620-7016

– full post at Kennebec Journal

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