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Support Grows for Same-Sex Marriage in Hawaii


hawaii[1] (Photo credit: lez get real)

A new poll shows that Hawaii’s voters are split over making same-sex marriage legal in that state, with 44 percent in support and 44 percent opposed.

However, when last asked in April 2012 where they stood on the same issue , a majority of Hawaiian voters (51 percent) said they did not believe same-sex couples should have the legal right to get married. Just 37 percent felt that they should and 12 percent were undecided.

According the Honolulu Civil Beat , which conducted the poll:

This is the trend of the country,” said Matt Fitch, executive director of Merriman River Group, which conducted The Civil Beat Poll. “It is just something that people are moving on from. I think this is becoming less of a flashpoint. Not only that, those opposed to it are less fervent as well.”

Fitch said the poll reflects that more members of the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) are becoming more accepting of same-sex marriage.
“It is generally the case for gay marriage that time is on its side,” he said.
Politically, a third of those surveyed identified themselves as “liberal” or “progressive,” while another third said they were “moderate” — groups usually in support of marriage equality. Most were also college graduates.

Half the people surveyed by Civil Beat said religious beliefs do not affect their views on same-sex marriage, but about one-fourth said it was a “major” factor. Brendan Hood, a Merriman analyst, said most in that group oppose same-sex marriage.

Ethnically, 34 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as Caucasian and 34 percent said they were Japanese. Only 5 percent identified themselves as Filipino, though Filipinos comprise more than one-fourth of Hawaii’s population.

Many Filipinos are Catholic, and it’s not clear whether a majority of them will adhere to the dictates of Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva, who warns of dire consequences should gay marriage be legalized, or Pope Francis, who believes his flock have spent too much time obsessing over gays, abortion and contraception

Civil Beat surveyed 819 registered Hawaii voters Oct. 9-10, including cell phones and landlines. (Most respondents said they had both.) The margin of error was 3.4 percent.

This poll comes as Hawaiian lawmakers are set to hold a special session next week that will focus on same-sex marriage legislation in that state.

Hawiian Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state House and Senate Democrats, which control both chambers, believe they have the votes to pass a bill.

The Abercrombie administration, and legislators are crafting a bill that exempts clergy opposed to gay marriage from performing gay marriage ceremonies. A trickier legal question is whether church facilities used for ceremonies can also be exempted, given that Hawaii’s public accommodations law says facilities that are rented for commercial use can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

However, despite the religious exemptions being planned, some religious organizations, including the Roman Catholic diocese in Honolulu, and the Mormon Church are being vocal in their opposition to same-sex marriage in the state and have been throwing their considerable weight behind efforts to stymie any such bill.



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