New poll reveals Texans’ attitudes changing on same-sex marriage

UT-TT-Polls-102214.010_1 A new poll from the UT-Austin and Texas Tribune reveals Texans’ attitudes are shifting on same-sex marriage and civil unions.

According to the Tribune, when asked if they support same-sex marriage, 47 percent of respondents said no, 42 percent said yes and 11 percent were undecided. When asked about civil unions, 39 percent say they would allow marriage, 28 percent would allow civil unions, 25 percent oppose both and 9 percent are undecided.

62 percent of Democrats would allow gay marriages, even with the alternative of civil unions available. Only 14 percent of Republicans would allow same-sex marriages over civil unions, 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.

55 percent of frequent churchgoers 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.


The demographic breakdown reveals that “the culture war is a lot more complex than you think,” Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Tribune. “The way in which you execute it does matter. What you really find is that people are subtle. They appreciate conditions and context.”

The internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted  Oct. 10–19 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. Among 866 likely voters, the margin of error is +/- 3.33 percent. In the split sample on marriage, the margin of error is +/- 3.99 percentage points on the civil unions question and +/- 4.02 percentage points on the question about gay marriage alone. Numbers in the charts might not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.

The poll is part of a series of report asking likely voters about political issues which can be read here.

—  James Russell

Independents, urban dwellers fuel jump in support for same-sex marriage in TX

A poll released in October showed that 69 percent of Texas voters support some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples.

A three-year analysis of University of Texas/Texas Tribune polls shows that support for same-sex unions has risen most significantly among Independents and urban dwellers.

A poll released in October found a record 69 percent of Texas voters favor some sort of relationship recognition for same-sex couples, either civil unions or same-sex marriage, which is a record high. Of those polled, 75 percent of Democrats favored recognition, compared to 64 percent of Independents and Republicans, though only 15 percent of Republicans support marriage equality.

More graphics breaking down the poll results are below.

—  Dallasvoice

Record number of Texas voters back legal recognition for gay couples

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll this week showed nearly 70 percent of Texans support legal recognition for same-sex couples – the highest percentage since polls began asking the questions in 2009.

The Tribune’s poll showed 36 percent support same-sex marriage and 33 percent support civil unions, for a total of 69 percent in favor of relationship recognition. Although with 25 percent against marriage or civil unions, the data could be interrupted as 58 percent against same-sex marriage.

Still, the findings in support of relationship recognition are 6 points higher than the second-highest result in February 2010, when a Tribune poll found 63 percent of Texans supported relationship recognition, with 28 percent in favor of marriage and 35 percent supporting civil unions.

The new poll is also 9 points higher than a Tribune poll from this February, which showed 31 percent supporting marriage and 29 percent favoring unions, totaling 60 percent in favor.

Erin Moore, who serves as co-chair of National Stonewall Democrats Leadership Council and was a member of the national Platform Committee, said polls are not a good basis for argument, but help get conversations started.

“I think it’s a great gauge of attitude, but I don’t think we should use it as ammunition for a basis for any sort of argument,” she said.

Moore said she questions the new poll because the percentage for marriage equality and civil unions were equal, as it has been in past years. She said she worries if people are against relationship recognition but choose civil unions to not appear bigoted.

“I wonder how much of that is support and how much of that is let me pick the non-bigoted answer but still not say I’m in favor of marriage,” she said.

As for the 9-point jump in support from February and the highest percentage in favor of marriage equality, Moore said that high a jump is a “significant shift” and that President Barack Obama’s public support for same-sex marriage and local efforts have helped the movement.

“What I attribute it to is that we’re continuing to do our work and get out into communities and to let people know that separate but equal doesn’t work in that we are full-fledged citizens who deserve rights that everybody else has, and that word is getting out,” she said.

In May 2011, a Tribune poll found 61 percent of Texans supported gay relationships with the support split between 30 percent backing  marriage and 31 percent favoring civil unions.

A Texas Lyceum poll in October 2010 found that Texans supported gay relationships by 52 percent. More than half at 28 percent supported marriage equality and 24 percent supported civil unions.

An Equality Texas poll released in December 2010 asked Texans 12 questions related to LGBT equality. The survey didn’t give an either/or option, but rather asked each question separately, resulting in 43 percent supporting gay marriage and 63 percent favoring civil unions.

In 2009, a Texas Politics Poll found 61 percent of people supported relationship recognition, with 29 percent for marriage equality and 32 percent for civil unions. A Texas Lyceum poll the same year found 57 percent in support, with 25 percent for marriage and 32 percent for civil unions.

—  Dallasvoice

Time for John Carona to grow a pair

John Carona

The Texas Tribune is the latest to weigh in on Republican State Sen. John Carona’s remarks to Dallas Voice in support of pro-equality legislation, with the video report below by Alana Rocha.

The Tribune focuses on Carona’s comments about marriage and compares them to its poll released yesterday showing that nearly 70 percent of Texans share Carona’s position — supporting some form of legal partnerships for same-sex couples, whether it be civil unions or marriage.

But Carona still isn’t talking, not to us, not to the Dallas Observer and not to the Tribune, about his comments last Monday (and strangely the Dallas Morning News has remained on the sidelines). But the fact is, despite all the reports saying he has, we still don’t truly know whether Carona is backtracking on his comments. All we have is hearsay from the Texas Pastor Council’s Dave Welch — not the most reliable source — but by remaining silent Carona is choosing to allow Welch to speak for him.

So here’s our advice to you, senator: Grow a pair and own your comments that we got on tape, then tell the Pastor Council to take a flying fuck. You told me you were concerned about representing constituents in your conservative district, and you questioned my statement that poll numbers show a majority of Texans support equality. Well, the latest poll shows that 70 percent back relationship recognition for same-sex couples, which based on several previous polls includes a majority of Republicans. These numbers can only be higher in your urban Dallas district than they are statewide. You also told me you were an independent voice who wasn’t afraid to buck the Republican Party line. Now stop kissing Welch’s ass and prove it!

Watch the Tribune’s video report below.

—  John Wright

For 7th time in 3 years, poll shows most Texans support legal gay unions

Yet another poll has found that a solid majority of Texans support legal recognition — where it be marriage or civil unions — for same-sex couples.

Results from a University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll released today show that 36 percent of Texans support same-sex marriage, while another 33 percent support civil unions but not marriage. Twenty-five percent said they oppose all forms of legal relationship recognition — both marriage and civil unions — for same-sex couples.

The UT/TT poll surveyed 800 voters from Oct. 15-21 and has a margin of error of 4.22 percentage points.

It’s at least the seventh poll since 2009 that has showed that a solid majority of Texans  support civil unions or marriage — with the figure consistently hovering around 60 percent — which might lead one to wonder why they don’t ask a new LGBT-related question.

In case these pollsters haven’t noticed, Texas has a constitutional amendment banning both same-sex marriage and civil unions. Overturning the amendment would require a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, as well as a simple majority of voters,  which is extremely unlikely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future.

Therefore, we’d suggest they ask something more relevant, such as, “Would you support a law banning employment discrimination against LGBT people?”

—  John Wright

Kerry Max Cook in the news, in different ways

Theatre 3, which planned a full run of the play The Exonerated in its Theatre Too space downstairs, has been forced to cut back due to construction issues. Now, it will run for only three staged readings on May 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. and a May 20 matinee at 2:30 p.m.

One of the persons profiled in this show — which chronicles the experiences of six death row inmates later exonerated — is Kerry Max Cook, pictured.

I have an odd relationship with Kerry. I knew nothing about his alleged crime — supposedly murdering a woman in Tyler in 1977 — until I moved to Dallas in 1990. At that time, he was undergoing a retrial in Dallas, and the story was covered almost daily on the front page of the Dallas Morning News. His image — the shock-white brush-cut and stony look — was memorable, and when he was re-convicted, I thought, “Just as well. He probably did it.” Then in 1997, he entered a plea deal, pleading “no contest” in exchange for a sentence of time-served. (The Exonerated followed a decade later.)

Everyone seems to be in agreement that Kerry didn’t do it. Certainly, that was my conclusion, after I met and interviewed him. Kerry came by my office in 2005 or 2006, and I wrote a cover story for the Voice about his ordeal. (His hair was darker by then, but the face was unmistakeable.) Kerry was a friendly fellow, who spoke convincingly about his innocence.

One thing he said to me was that he always assumed he was targeted in part because he frequented gay bars in Dallas in the 1970s, and was therefore labeled an “undesirable” by the cops in Tyler. (Tyler has a pretty crappy history when it comes to gay stuff.) Kerry has since married a woman.

I really liked Kerry, but truth is, “exonerated” has always been a slight overstatement. Kerry wasn’t deemed “innocent,” just freed and the death penalty against him abandoned.

But Kerry doesn’t wanna let it go. He’s back in court in Smith County, asking to conduct more DNA evidence to conclusively establish his innocence, as reported in the Texas Tribune. Personally, I hope he wins. And I hope it makes people reconsider the death penalty.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Did a Republican member of the Texas State Board of Education just come out as gay?

George Clayton

George Clayton, a Republican member of the State Board of Education from Richardson, sent an email to several news organizations last week that appears to confirm he’s gay.

Clayton is an academic coordinator at North Dallas High School, according to his bio on the Texas Education Agency website. He won the District 12 SBOE seat in 2010, when he defeated longtime Republican incumbent Geraldine “Tincy” Miller in the primary.

Clayton sent out his email in response to an apparent whisper campaign about his sexual orientation among Republicans in the district, which covers all of Collin County. Miller is trying to unseat Clayton and recapture her old seat in 2012.

“It has come to my attention that one of my opponents in my bid for reelection to the State Board of Education and certain member(s) of the Golden Corridor Republican Women’s Club are questioning my sexual orientation,” Clayton said in his email. “So as to avoid the tyranny of misinformation and innuendo in this political race, I wish to say that I, in fact, do have a male partner who lives with me in my home in Richardson, Texas. I hope this frank announcement satisfies Tincy Miller and the ladies associate with the Golden Corridor organization. All of us can now move on with discussions concerning education instead of being overly occupied with my personal life.”

According to the Texas Tribune, Miller claims she isn’t the one who brought up Clayton’s sexual orientation, but she noted that others have. The Texas Freedom Network reports that Susan Fletcher, president of the Golden Corridor Women’s Club, suggested in an email recently that Clayton’s personal life “needs to be investigated.” The TFN also notes that Clayton’s sexual orientation became the subject of rumors online last year.

Clayton’s email confirming that he’s gay has already prompted one right-winger, Donna Garner of Waco, to withdraw her endorsement of his re-election bid.

“If Clayton is indeed a homosexual, then we as voters must be concerned about re-electing him to the SBOE since the Board will soon begin the process of writing and adopting Health curriculum requirements for all Texas public school students,” Garner wrote.

Clayton, who would be the first known openly gay Republican elected official in Texas history, could not immediately be reached for comment.

More to come …

—  John Wright

WATCH: Gov. Perry’s full announcement speech

Watch live video from texastribune2 on

Via The Texas Tribune, above is video of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s full speech today in South Carolina announcing that he’s seeking the Republican nomination for president. God help us.

—  John Wright

WATCH: TX House debates anti-gay amendment

Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, delivered one of the strongest pro-LGBT statements the Texas House floor has ever seen.

Via the Texas Tribune, below is video, in three parts, from Thursday night’s debate in the Texas House on an anti-gay amendment by Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, aimed at eliminating LGBT resource centers at Texas universities. As we reported earlier, Christian eventually withdrew the amendment amid opposition from Democrats who threatened to derail the entire fiscal matters bill to which it was attached. Part two and three of the video are after the jump. Read Daniel Williams’ recap of the debate here.

Watch live video from texastribune on

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Yet another poll shows majority of Texans back gay marriage or civil unions

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. For at least the fifth time in the last two years, a poll has shown that a solid majority of Texans support legal recognition of same-sex relationships, whether it be marriage or civil unions. A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Wednesday found that 61 percent of Texans support same-sex marriage or civil unions. The poll found that 30 percent support same-sex marriage, 31 percent support civil unions, and 33 percent oppose any form of relationship recognition, with 6 percent unsure. The poll of 800 registered voters was conducted earlier this month and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. Previous polls dating back to 2009 have found similar support for legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2005 outlawing both same-sex marriage and civil unions.

2. El Paso’s decision to strip domestic partner benefits for city employees is a step backward and could hurt the city economically, according to a business expert and some city officials. A federal judge last week upheld the results of a November ballot initiative that will take away benefits for 19 gay and unmarried partners of city employees, as well as many others. One council member is proposing an ordinance to reinstate the benefits, while another says the city should put the issue back on the ballot this year. Read more from the El Paso Times.

3. The number of reported hate crimes in Texas increased 2.4 percent in 2010, according to KENS Channel 5 in San Antonio. The story doesn’t provide a breakdown of how many of the offenses were based on sexual orientation or other factors such as race, and hate crime statistics from 2010 haven’t been posted on the FBI website. KENS interviews the mother and sister of Troy Martinez Clattenburg, a gay man who was murdered last year after he allegedly made a pass at a straight acquaintance. Watch video below.

—  John Wright