Poll: Majority of Texans support civil unions or gay marriage

Posted on 25 Jun 2009 at 6:02pm
By David Taffet Staff Writer

57% favor some form of relationship recognition


Paul Scott

Most Texans favor some form of legal recognition for same-sex relationships, according to a new poll by the Texas Lyceum Association.

According to the poll results released this week, 32 percent of those questioned said they support civil unions, and 25 percent believed in marriage equality, while 36 percent opposed both.

The non-profit, non-partisan Texas Lyceum Association conducts the Texas Lyceum Poll. The organization consists of 96 younger men and women from across the state with a mission to identify a new generation of leaders and bring understanding of major issues to key state decision makers.

Although more Democrats than Republicans supported marriage and more Republicans than Democrats opposed any form of recognition, the poll found majority support crossed political lines.

Some 36 percent of Democrats support full marriage for same-sex couples, the poll showed, along with 25 percent of Independents and 14 percent of Republicans.

When it comes to civil unions, 29 percent of Democrats, 31 percent of Independents and 37 percent of Republicans said they were in support.

Another 29 percent of Democrats, 35 percent of Independents and 43 percent of Republicans opposed any form of legal recognition for same-sex couples.

While more than 50 percent of those polled supported some recognition of same-sex relationships, only 19 percent identified themselves as liberal. Republican support for either civil unions or marriage equality totals 51 percent.

Rob Schlein, president of the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, said that with marriage in the news so often, people’s opinions have been changing.

"For some time, Republicans have told me that civil unions are something they can embrace," he said. "Polls have been trending our way for a long time."

Equality Texas Executive Director Paul Scott agreed.

"The numbers have been moving. We’ve had anecdotal evidence," Scott said.

Scott also dismissed the results of the 2005 election as a true reflection of Texans’ opinions.

"In 2004, the movement was being overwhelmed," he says. He called propositions like the one in Texas nothing more than a "ploy to drive people to the polls for political reasons."

But Schlein pointed out that until the Texas Constitution is changed, no marriage or civil union law could be passed in Texas despite the new poll.

Although state Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston has introduced a bill in the last two sessions to repeal Proposition 2, his legislation has not gotten out of committee.

Equality Texas will conduct its own first-ever comprehensive polling over the next year, Scott said, adding that although marriage equality cannot be enacted in Texas until laws are changed, he believes some rights can be gained through legislation.

E-mail taffet@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 26, 2009.

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