According to a poll published this week by the Washington Post, 47 percent of Virginians believe gay couples should be allowed to marry and 43 percent opposed. In addition, 55 percent said that gay couples should be allowed to legally adopt.
The Post notes that this is a significant jump from 2006 when the Marshall-Newman act passed banning same-sex partnerships. In 2006, 57 percent of Virginians supported adding language prohibiting same-sex marriage to the state constitution.
More from both sides from the Post:
Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, a spokeswoman for the gay rights group Equality Virginia, said the political establishment’s views lag behind those of the public on the issue. “We knew that public opinion was evolving,” she said of opposition to the 2006 vote. “You end up leaving us in a posture where the public has moved and the policymakers haven’t and won’t.”
Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, countered that Virginians speak more clearly at the ballot box than in polls.
“Typically, people elect the officials they want to implement the policy they believe in,” she said, noting that despite shifting poll results, voters in 31 states have agreed to prohibit same-sex marriage.
According to Governor Bob McDonnell, the marriage ban was the right decision. In a press conference call, he noted the 2006 voting majority.
“They’ve already enshrined in the Virginia Constitution that gay marriage is not permitted, so unless there is another effort to change the Constitution, that matter is settled. That is the law of the land and, look, reasonable people can disagree on these things. That’s what the law is now. That’s something that I support. That was the right decision.”