Survey: Californians Now More Likely to Favor Gay Marriage

A newly released survey shows that for the first time, more Californians favor same-sex marriage than oppose it.

Since the Public Policy Institute of California began tracking attitudes on same-sex marriage in the year 2000, residents in the Golden State were always more likely to express opposition. But the latest survey, released Wednesday, found that 50 percent of residents now favor it and 45 percent are against it.

The findings come two years after 52 percent of California voters passed Proposition 8, a state amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The California Supreme Court last year rejected lawsuits against the amendment, ruling that it was not an illegal constitutional revision by the people nor unconstitutional.

But two of the nation's top litigators – Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, who represented the opposing sides of the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 – filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that it violates the Equal Protection Clause.

Testimonies in the Prop 8 case wrapped up in January but the case was prolonged after Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ordered opponents of the amendment to turn over campaign materials and internal documents.

According to the PPIC survey, support for same-sex marriage declines with older age, but rises as education and income increase.

Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area are more likely than those in Los Angeles to support allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians (75 percent) are opposed to it.

The PPIC survey is part of a series that examines the social, economic, and political trends that influence public policy preferences and ballot choices. Findings are based on a telephone survey of 2,002 California adult residents interviewed on landlines and cell phones from March 9-16, 2010.

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