April 20th, 2009
11:15 AM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Majority in NY support same-sex marriage bill

On Thursday, New York Gov. David Paterson announced he will introduce a bill that would allow same-sex couples in New York State to enter into civil marriages with the full rights of legal marriage.

On Thursday, New York Gov. David Paterson announced he will introduce a bill that would allow same-sex couples in New York State to enter into civil marriages with the full rights of legal marriage.

(CNN) - A new poll indicates that majority of New Yorkers support the legalization of same-sex marriages.

Fifty-three percent of New Yorkers questioned in a Siena College Research Institute poll support a bill that would allow same-sex couples to wed, with 39 percent opposing the move.

The survey suggests that Democrats, independent and young voters, and women strongly support Senate passage. Republicans strongly oppose passage. Men, older voters, African-Americans, and Protestants are also opposed. The strongest support for the measure is found in New York City.

On Thursday, New York Gov. David Paterson announced he will introduce a bill that would allow same-sex couples in New York State to enter into civil marriages with the full rights of legal marriage. A similar attempt two years ago failed to make it through the state's legislature.

Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, Paterson strongly defended a proposed bill that aims to legalize same-sex marriage in his state.

"People of religious beliefs, many, believe that the sacred relationship between a man and woman is the only threshold for marriage. I respect that point of view. However we are living in a society of civil laws – we separate church and state," Paterson told CNN's John King.

"We are not trying in anyway to disrespect anyone's religious belief. We are to trying to, in anyway, make people believe what we believe about the validity about same sex marriage," Paterson added. "We are trying to get them to accept that in our society the laws should protect people equally."

Paterson's push to legalize gay marriage doesn't seem to be helping his image. Only 27 percent of people questioned in the poll have a favorable opinion of Paterson, down two points from last month.

"By a fairly significant margin, voters would like to see New York join with Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, and other states in allowing same sex couples to marry here," says Siena New York Poll Spokesman Steven Greenberg. "For women and young voters it's a resounding 'yes.' Men and older voters are more closely divided and more likely to say 'no.' "

In a Quinnipiac University poll of New York State voters conducted earlier this month, 41 percent said gay couples should be allowed to marry legally, while 33 percent say they should be allowed to form civil unions, but not marry and 19 percent say there should be no legal recognition of a gay union.

The Siena College Research Institute poll was conducted April 13-15, with 682 New York State registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.


Filed under: New York • Poll • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. fitzgerald

    Kinky Friedman said that gays should be allowed to be married and then they would be as miserable as the rest of us. Amen to that.

    April 20, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Same Old White House

    The only question is: Will this be enough to shore up Pattersons weak approval rating for another election? That is all this is about.

    April 20, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. Mark Cross Junction VA

    The poll must have been taken among gays, because any normal human being would say NOOOO!

    April 20, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm a democrat who opposes this bill. But I do understand why the governor is passing this legislation. His chair is up for grabs and he's reaching out to the gay community. I still think if he goes up against Cuomo or Giuliani he's going to lose.

    April 20, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Mississippi Mike

    If it's so popular it should be made a ballot measure this fall rather than a bill pushed through the state legislature. Then, the people of the state of New York would be able to vote on whether to destroy the sanctity of marriage or let it continue to be a revered institution.

    April 20, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Melissa

    Good. Its about time.

    April 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Illinois 2

    Same-sex marriage should never be approved by any form of government, state or federal. Those states that already allow this, should move to have it stopped. Marriage in the eyes of our Creator is between a male and female only and is for the several reasons with one being that of producing children...

    To say that Same-sex couples should not be allowed to have a civil union should be up to the states only...

    April 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Some guy

    Can't wait to see how this plays in Buffalo. Maybe they'll threaten to secede from the state. Have a nice day!

    April 20, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. dan in Tucson

    It is wrong to allow religious beliefs to interfere with Americas laws. America was founded on freedom from religious persecution and that is exactly what denying same sex marriage is all about. What the gay community needs to do is to make homosexuality a religion. Then they would have more rights and protections in the law.

    April 20, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Ravi

    Thank goodness that the people of my beloved home state are open-minded enough to do the right thing. This isn't about Paterson, Dems, Repubs, Christians, or anyone else. It's about whether the State has a right to discriminate against a group of Americans. The answer, of course, is found in our Constitution: "All ... are created equal".

    April 20, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Alan

    It doesn't matter if the poll were 100% in favor of it, gay marriage is still wrong. It's not natural and is counter to the evolutionary process.

    April 20, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Brian Crooks

    The point is to keep the focus on the term "civil marriage." The argument against marriage equality is often framed in a religious argument. If you keep the church out of these marriages (like when you go to the Courthouse to get married), the argument crumbles.

    It's just very confusing to me how many on the Right (rightfully so) rail against Sharia Law in the Middle East and decry it's rigid religious rules but then want to impose a Christian version of Sharia Law in the US. They argue that the Bible has laid out marriage in such-and-such a way and any deviation is an affront to God. That's the exact argument the Muslim extremists use in the Middle East when they beat women for being raped, etc.

    Marriage equality is the right thing to do. Just keep the churches out of it.

    April 20, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Larry from RI

    The number one threat to heterosexual marriage is divorce!

    Just ask John McCain! or Newt Gingrich! Heck, Newt is on wife number three already.

    Now, tell me again how two gay people who love each other and want to marry somehow diminish marriage for the rest of us?

    April 20, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. S Callahan

    I question this poll....how many were polled, from what region?
    In my area the masses are against.....hmmm
    David, you can do better than this...look at all the children going to bed hungry in New York State, living in rat infested apts.....put your priorities right.

    April 20, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Brian Crooks

    April 20th, 2009 11:31 am ET

    The only question is: Will this be enough to shore up Pattersons weak approval rating for another election? That is all this is about.
    ===============
    Doubtful, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that he's doing what's right, regardless of his intentions. Lincoln didn't free the slaves because he had a moral reason to do so; he did it to keep the nation whole. His reasons didn't matter, but the outcome was the right one.

    April 20, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. Simmy

    When everything else fails, jump on the 'most popular issue' bandwagon. If it gets you elected, more power to ya.....

    April 20, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Fair is Fair

    This guy is like any other politician... trolling for votes. I'm beginning to wonder if these narcissists actually believe in what they're pushing.

    April 20, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Unshrub

    If marriage is in the eyes of the creator lets let him worry about it. If he doesn't accept their marriage it should BE his decision. We are not here to judge. I am tired of these loud mouth consevatives who want everyone else to abide by their views.

    April 20, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Dan in NY

    Paterson is definitely trying to boost his approval ratings. I doubt it will work. Unfortunately, he's a good man, who had an honorable career. He never wanted to be Lieutenant Governor, and got thrust into the job of Governor. Unfortunately, this will overshaddow the noble career he had before this.

    April 20, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. John in Ohio

    New York: Now is your chance to pass California, and catch up to Iowa and Vermont.

    This is the future. Accept it, or don't, it will happen anyway. Raging against equal rights is like arguing with a thunderstorm.

    April 20, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Dante

    patterson states he respects the point of view that "many people of religious beliefs feel that the sacred relationship between a man and a woman is the only threshold for marriage....but, this is a nation of civil laws with separation of church and state".......excuse me but the institution of marriage existed long before the declaration of independence was signed and before laws in this country were established with regulations and requirements (i.e., licenses) regarding marriage.......marriage is also known as holy matrimony and is one of the seven sacraments..........its pure hypocrisy and incredibly intrusive for patterson to claim separation of chuch and state in support of his bill....call them civil unions, partnerships, whatever....give them equal rights......but don't redefine marriage......maybe the gay community can start their own church.... perhaps the new england rainbow church might work.....just saying

    April 20, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Wightman

    All of you are so concerned about religion and what is your opinion of "normal" that you have been conformed. This is ridicuous. Two people that love eachother, regardless of sex, have rights too. If Gays and Lesbians want to get married, tell me, exactly how, that is going to affect your life in any way, shape or form? I assure you that if this bill gets passed, the sun will still rise the next day. Dont worry, I promise. =]

    April 20, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Mary - Independent

    This is all about "dirty politics" at the expense to gays. Whether it is approved of or not, it is not nice to use gay rights as a weapon. Gays are human, and Paterson is just trying to "buy votes"! To pass a bill because you believe in it is one thing, to pass a bill because it will get you ahead is unfair!

    April 20, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Monrob

    Let's make sure Timothy Dolan, the new evil archbishop, hears this and let him know gays will not take his opposition to same sex marriage lightly!

    Evildoer Timmy!

    April 20, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Al-NY,NY

    Outlaw divorce too and then these do-getter zealots may sing another tune since I am sure many of them have sinned by doing that. I would gladly approve this measure since I am not a bible-thumping, all knowing hater that interprets a book of stories like it's the absolute truth, and THEN cherry-picking certain lines to fit their narrow minded thought process

    April 20, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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