UT/Trib poll says Texans would be fine with same sex marriage

A result of interest from the most recent UT/Trib poll:

Registered Texas voters narrowly oppose same-sex marriage, but a large majority is open to allowing either marriage or civil unions to gays and lesbians, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Asked whether those couples should be allowed to marry, 42 percent say yes and 47 percent say no, the poll found. When civil unions are added to the question, voters are more permissive: 39 percent say they would allow marriage, 28 percent would allow civil unions and 25 percent say they would not allow either sort of formal bond.

“The culture war is a lot more complex than you think,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. “It’s not like people have said everything should be Amsterdam. The way in which you execute it does matter. What you really find is that people are subtle. They appreciate conditions and context.”

Partisan differences show up in the poll responses. A strong majority of Democrats — 62 percent — would allow gay marriages, even with the alternative of civil unions available. Only 14 percent of Republicans would do that, but another 45 percent would allow civil unions. Voters who identify themselves as independents were closer to the Democrats on this question, with 53 percent approving of gay marriage and another 20 percent in favor of the civil unions option.

The most frequent churchgoers — those who say they attend more than one service per week — are most likely to oppose same-sex unions: 55 percent say they oppose both marriage and civil unions for those couples. A majority of other churchgoers, including those who say they attend services once a week, would allow some form of unions.

I’m not going to suddenly become a fan of this poll just because they produced a result I like, but this is generally consistent with other polling on the subject of same sex marriage in Texas. More to the point, it highlights another contradiction in the stance taken by Greg Abbott as Attorney General, an Ken Paxton as a candidate for AG, on the subject of same sex marriage and the ongoing litigation to overturn the state’s ban against it. Both of them like to cite the 2005 referendum that enshrined the ban on same sex marriage in the state constitution, which passed by a 3-1 margin, as justification for their support of continuing the fight to uphold that ban. Well, that 3-1 majority doesn’t exist any more. A lot of the people who voted for that referendum nine years ago would vote against it today if they had the chance. It’s just a matter of time before there is a solid majority in Texas in favor of same sex marriage. What would Abbott and Paxton say then? I remember what I said back in 2005, which is that the reason for the push to make something that was already illegal constitutionally banned was to ensure that a simple majority could not some day overturn that. We are at or near the point of that majority, and by now all of the other justifications for banning same sex marriage have been shown to be garbage. Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton are working not to uphold the will of the people but to thwart it.

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