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

Poll: Majority in NY support same-sex marriage bill

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/06/art.paterson.gi.jpg caption="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. zgomer

    It won't pass, this is the last ditch effort by the illegal media in this country to persuade someones ability to vote against it, so the lib lying media has to explain why it didn't passs again.

    April 20, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. tom & chris bay shore, ny

    how does someone having the right to marry a person they love have any effect on my marriage. this is the same as when the southern states outlawed black/white marriage. it was a crime and the southern churches felt the same way, some "ministers" were in the KKK also. today this is a human rights issue and we are all created equal. if you don't like it, then don't do it.

    April 20, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Only a matter of time

    Massachusetts has been allowing gay marriage for a while now and I don't see that state crumbling under the weight of its own "sin".

    Even if this doesn't pass now, as a native new yorker, I know that it is only a matter of time before this issue will be... well, a non-issue and we will wonder what the hell took so long. If a person can go to the county clerk and be married just the same as a ceremony in a church, then the religious argument is moot.

    April 20, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Ross

    A company wanting to create 200 manufacturing jobs in Western New York is turned down by the NY Power Authority as Paterson does nothing and focuses on same sex marriage as a highly important need now?!

    April 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Kris

    Divorce rate among heterosexuals pushes 50%; pedophiles are predominantly heteresexual and how many times have you heard news stories where a child molester was a homosexual? Let same-sex marriage exist, in can't hurt anymore than straight marriage.

    April 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Jason, Omaha NE

    @ Dante

    You're correct that marriage existed before civil laws. However, because currently civil laws grant marriage rights (and NOT religion), your argument was basically a complete waste of time.

    So, If you go to a church and get married, but don't register your marriage with the state, then you're allowed to have your point of view. But, I highly doubt you would do that, because its the civil benefits of marriage, not religious, that people want.

    April 20, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Philip Grant

    Two people, heterosexual or homosexual, should be able to get license to marry and have all the benefits of marriage from the State.
    The State and Church are separate for a reason. For instance, a Jewish couple, whether heterosexual or homosexual, cannot and should not be allowed to get married in a Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has a religious right to refuse them, and visa versa if it were a Catholic couple. My folks down south in the strict Southern
    Pentecostal Church would never perform a wedding ceremony between a couple unless they were "born again" Christians. When I say "born again" I mean "BORN AGAIN". They would never entertain any couple just off the street. We live in an age where heterosexual couples go to Las Vegas and get married in building shaped like a guitar by a preacher dressed like Elvis. Where is the sanctity is that? There is no such thing as the "sanctity" of marriage if you just look at it from the civil point of view. The "sanctity" of marriage is in the heart and soul of the two people getting married. That is the freedom we enjoy in this country. We enjoy the freedom to embrace what we like and reject what we don't like. We should cherish that freedom, and be grateful that we have been blessed with it, instead of trying to deny it to someone who lives a life we don't approve of.

    April 20, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Baze

    How does Paterson know what New Yorkers want when his approval rating continues to plummet?

    April 20, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. woot

    So then let's ban old people and infertile people from getting married, since they can't reproduce, either.

    April 20, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Ever notice that the states which have adopted same-sex marriage didn't put it to referrendum, and the states that put it to referrendum were shot down? Even the most "liberal" "progressive" state, California? Democracy can only work if the governed are allowed to speak.

    April 20, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Davey

    If marriage is truly a religious issue, then what the state and federal governments should do is strip all marriage benefits it gives to heterosexual couples. No joint filing of taxes, no inheritance laws, no social security benefits. Then gays and straights will truly be equal. Don't want to do that?!? Then gays need to have their relationships recognized in the same way as heterosexuals... I want the same rights as my neighbors, and nothing less is acceptable.

    April 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Bryan, Maine

    Vermaont, Massachussetts, Iowa, the 3 states with gay marriage laws -

    Not one state had a vote by the people, all was done by the liberal governments and judicial systems, the true voice of the people in a state vote was NEVER done. They tried to by pass the citizens in California the same ways and the people now have had two votes that DID NOT legalize gay marriage. In fact, 30 states have constitutions banning gay marriage. When the people have a chance to vote, gay marriage will always be defeated.

    The majority of Americans do believe in the santitiy of marriage as being defined as between a man and a woman. Gays have civil unions with all the same constitutional rights of normal heterosexual married couples.

    April 20, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. jack

    Anyone who believes marriage is purely religious should no longer be allowed to file their taxes married filing jointly. Any reference to marriage in the tax code should be removed. If you want the church to dictate who should be married than get the government out of it. We are not a theocracy. My personal opinion is that marriage in the US is a sham. If you have ever been divorced, you have no say in marriage becuase you broke a convenent with god that no man should put asunder. I must ask "did you get the approval from god himself to get divorced?" I for one do not foresee myself ever married. I don't need a peice of paper or a church to tell me I love someone for the rest of my life.

    April 20, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Warren in Raleigh

    The "Institution of Marriage" as a concept only dates back to the 1950s, when it was used as a political tool along with "In God We Trust" and "under God" in the Pledge by social conservatives. The inclusion of marriage among the seven sacraments of Catholicism does not make the sole province of religion. We as a society have adopted a social role for marriage which extends beyond its religious and reproductive function - otherwise, why would we allow situations like the marriage of two childless atheists?

    And it's that social role which is being discussed here. Other societies have historically used different models of marriage than ours does (note the incidence of polygamy, even in some modern cultures), and I don't see why we can't adopt a new model in our civil society. The "Sanctity of Marriage" is no concern of our civil government, and is the sole province of religious institutions. I don't have a problem with religious institutions recognizing different marriage rules than the civil government - they've managed to disagree on plenty else without it tearing our society apart.

    This is not a zero-sum game. Churches and existing marriages lose nothing when the government also recognizes additional marriages. Some of them might even gain something - the satisfaction of living in a society which gives equal recognition to their peers.

    April 20, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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