Much of the controversy surrounding gay marriage has been centered in California with several recent court rulings that will most likely determine if same-sex unions will become permanent in the Golden State. Now a new poll shows that public opinion on the issue is also increasing.
Registered voters in California now favor same-sex unions by 59 percent to 32 percent. The 25-point gap is the largest margin of support since the issue has been polled over the past 30 years, according to Field Poll.
Just a little over three and a half years ago, 52.3 of the state's voters approved Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage. Since then, a U.S. District Court and a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the proposition is unconstitutional.
Attorneys working on behalf of Proposition 8 supporters have now requested that a larger panel of the 9th Circuit Appeals Court hear the case. Regardless of the outcome, legal scholars expect it to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in the next year or so.
Interestingly, the poll showed that support for gay marriage has increased in virtually every category such as voters under 64, non-white voters, Catholics, Republicans and those who consider themselves Independents.
Mark DiCamillo, who directed the polling efforts, believes that the 25-point gap far exceeds any type of gradual increase typically found with other issues.
"This is now showing that opinions are changing irrespective of generational replacement," DiCamillo told The Sacramento Bee. "This is real change."
However, supporters of traditional marriage disagree with the large gap being reported in the poll.
"It's one thing to respond to a poll, it's another to go into a private voting booth and vote your conscience," Keith Spellings, a Republican activist from Orange County, told The Christian Post. "I'm not saying public opinion is not changing within some segments of the population – especially with those under 30 years of age, but 25 points is a huge swing among people who actually go and vote."
Matthew Boyd, a college student, may very well fit the bill of younger voters whose views have evolved over the years.
"I think as the years have gone on, people are getting more used to the idea," the 24 year-old told The Sacramento Bee. "There's more and more openly gay people every day, public figures, people's friends. You see that they love each other and it's not something the government should be able to say, to tell them what to do."
Still, many Christian voters in California are determined to fight the legalization of same-sex marriage in California. Louis Rodriguez says he is okay with civil unions and doesn't have an issue with spousal rights for gay couples but he is still opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage.
"Honestly, what offends me is a group of minorities are trying to impose their non-religious views upon religious groups," Rodriguez told the Bee. "As a voting Christian, I find it offensive they would attack the religious act of marriage."