Poll Shows Increasing Opposition Among African-Americans to Redefining Marriage in Maryland

Despite a video campaign featuring a few elite Marylanders designed to sway grassroots opinion for same-sex marriage – especially among the African-American community – polling shows that not much has changed. What has changed? Support among African-Americans has fallen by eight percentage points – from 41% in favor of same-sex marriage in October 2011 to 33% in favor in this month’s poll.

The more Marylanders hear about efforts to redefine marriage, the more they are saying no. Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies released the poll today in advance of an expected push by supporters of same-sex marriage to move legislation quickly through the Senate and House of Delegates.

Today’s poll indicated that 47% of registered voters opposed redefining marriage, up from 44% in January, with 4% undecided.

Also of significance in this poll, however, is the question that is asked of respondents. “Would you favor or oppose a law in Maryland allowing same-sex couples to marry, giving them the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples in areas such as tax exemptions, inheritance and pension coverage?” What the poll did not measure is whether respondents would support redefining marriage if they were aware of the fact that same-sex couples already receive such benefits, including state employee health benefits, exemptions from recordation taxes and state inheritance taxes, and many more.

It is not necessary to redefine marriage in order to grant other couples certain civil rights. Stripping marriage of its unique connection to parenthood erases from law the right of a child to a mother and a father, and ignores an essential question of why government elevates their relationship over all other relationships.

We continue to urge all members of the Maryland General Assembly not to allow this issue to be driven by partisan politics, and to give full and fair consideration to the legitimate reasons why a groundswell of Marylanders believe our state should maintain its recognition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Maryland Catholic Conference advocates for the Church's public policy positions before the Maryland General Assembly and other civil officials. The Conference represents the three dioceses with territory in the state – the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.