FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — As the nation’s highest court deliberates two critical cases that will set legal precedence for same-sex couples in the U.S., across the river in Virginia a new poll shows little support for marriage equality.
A new poll from the University of Mary Washington Center for Leadership and Media Studies shows that support for same-sex marriage in Viginia has only slightly increased since the 2006 ballot question that not only amended the state’s constitution to read, “That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.”
That amendment also banned any form of civil union for unmarried couples in the state.
The Mary Washington poll surveyed 1,004 registered voters, and asked, “Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally in Virginia?”
According to the poll, 46 percent of respondents said they opposed legalizing same-sex marriage, 45 percent were in favor, 5 percent were unsure, and 4 percent gave no response.
Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved in 2006 ballot by a margin of 57-43 percent.
As a group, African-Americans were most critical of same sex marriage, with 40 percent supporting same-sex marriage legalization and 54 percent opposing it, noted Mary Washington poll director Stephen Farnsworth.
Hispanic respondents were most supportive, with 64 percent supporting gay marriage and 34 percent opposing. For whites, 50 percent oppose gay marriage and 46 percent support it.
Political analysts in Richmond told LGBTQ Nation that while the state’s northern counties — which comprise the suburbs of Washington D.C. — tend to vote along more progressive lines, the rest of the state, particularly the south-eastern Hampton Roads area, home to the U. S. Navy’s Atlantic fleet and U.S. Air Force installations, tends to vote consistently conservative.
That factor, coupled with the current Republican-controlled state legislature and governor’s office, makes it likely that the state will continue to resist immediate changes.