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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 28, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 39
Marriage equality winning in Maryland
Section One
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Marriage equality winning in Maryland

New poll gives Question 6 an eight-point lead

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new poll released on September 26 shows Maryland's marriage equality law ahead by eight points, with 51% of respondents saying they will vote in support and only 43% planning to vote against it.

The poll by Gonzales Research and Strategies sampled 813 registered voters who say they are going to vote in the November election. The margin of error is 3.5%, according to Gonzales.

A January poll by Gonzales showed a much closer contest, with 49% in favor and 47% opposed.

MAJOR SHIFT AMONG BLACKS
The really significant change in support came among African Americans. The latest Gonzales poll showed 44% of African American respondents favoring marriage equality. A similar poll in January showed only 33% prepared to vote for equality.

This change seems to confirm previous polling by other organizations. An August Hart poll showed opinion among African American voters evenly split, with 44% supporting Maryland's new marriage law and 45% opposed. Hart's March poll showed African Americans opposing marriage equality by nine points.

Some 30% of Maryland voters are African American, and Gonzales attributed the shift in this important constituency to President Obama's endorsement of equality. NAACP President Ben Jealous, who also supports the new marriage law, lives in Baltimore.

Twenty-four percent of Marylanders are Roman Catholic, making the Catholic Church the largest religious denomination in the state. Catholic officials have been vocal opponents of same-sex marriage.

ARCHBISHOP TO SPEAK AT CLOSED-DOOR EVENT
On the same day Gonzales released its new poll, the anti-equality Maryland Marriage Alliance announced that Baltimore's Catholic Archbishop William E. Lori would headline a fundraiser for their group.

Lori's name is listed at the top of the invitation to the event, which is to be held at a Catholic seminary in Baltimore. Admission to the fundraiser is by invitation only, and it is closed to the general public and the media, a Catholic spokesperson told local reporters. Several hundred people are expected to attend the gathering.

Meanwhile, singer Adam Lambert appeared at a September 25 fundraiser for Marylanders for Marriage Equality in the District of Columbia. The pro-equality group also benefited from a New York event featuring several dozen actors and other celebrities.

Maryland's marriage equality law was passed by the state's legislature in February and signed into law by Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley on March 1. As in Washington, opponents of equality launched a successful petition campaign to put the measure on the November ballot.

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