A new poll examining support for homosexual marriage in California vastly overstates voters’ opposition to a marriage amendment to the state constitution and understates support for the measure, Catholics for the Common Good charges.
The Field Poll survey, conducted between May 17 and May 26, follows a state Supreme Court decision which ruled that barring homosexuals from marrying each other violates the California Constitution.
According to Reuters, the poll reported that 51 percent of respondents were against approving a proposed November ballot measure that would ban homosexual marriage, while only 43 percent favored it. A differently-worded question found 54 percent opposed and 40 percent in favor.
Broken down by demographics, the Field Poll found that 68 percent of 18-29 year- old respondents approved of same-sex marriage, while those 65 or older disapproved by 55 percent.
According to the poll, 51 percent of Californians approve of homosexual marriage, an increase from 46 percent in 2006 and 30 percent in 1985. The poll of 1,052 California voters claimed a margin of error ranging from plus or minus 3.2 to 5 percentage points, depending on the question.
Mark DiCamillo, the poll's director, called the results a “milestone in California. You can't downplay the importance of a change in an issue we've been tracking for 30 years."
William B. May, chairman of Catholics for the Common Good, disputed the findings, saying, “Today's Field Poll shows data inconsistent with other reputable polls that show voter support for defining marriage in the state constitution as between a man and a woman.” Mr. May cited both a May 21 poll showing Californians supported the homosexual marriage ban 54-46 and a May 15 SurveyUSA poll showing a 52-36 margin favoring the ban. He said that results can vary substantially depending on how questions are asked, the order in which they are asked, and sampling techniques.
“I am confident that when voters read the one-sentence initiative in November, they will see it as common sense and will vote for it. But this election to reinstate marriage as only between a man and a woman will be very close and hard-fought," Mr. May said.
He said it was true that young people support same-sex marriage more than other demographics, explaining, “Young people have been immersed in a culture that is largely indifferent to marriage and have even been taught in schools that marriage is simply a lifestyle choice reflected in the fact that marriage has declined over the last thirty years.”
Mr. May argued that the California Supreme Court decision is “clearly in conflict with the common interest of every child without exception in having a married mother and father.
“Marriage has declined to the point that four out of ten children are now born out of wedlock -- a serious problem that calls for promoting and supporting marriage for people who engage in reproductive acts. However, it is now illegal for public schools or other government agencies to promote marriage for men and women, because it discriminates against the private interests of a particular group of adults,” he said.
Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, issued a directive to California’s clerks on Wednesday afternoon explaining that, barring a reversal of the California Supreme Court’s decision, June 17 will be the first day homosexuals can be recognized as married in California.