Fifty-four percent of New Hampshire residents favor a law that would allow the state to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, according to a University of New Hampshire poll released Friday. The poll, conducted by UNH's Survey Center, found that 42% of the 509 adults it polled opposed the idea. Younger residents were much more likely than older ones to support such legislation. Among adults age 17 to 29, 70% support same-sex marriage, while 64% of adults over 70 are opposed. Among the sexes, 65% of women support same-sex marriage, compared with 30% who oppose it. Forty-three percent of the men polled supported same-sex marriages, with 54% opposing it. Protestants and Catholics were both evenly divided, with half supporting same-sex marriage, and half opposing.
"This is fantastic news!" said Lisa Beelle, cochairwoman of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition. "Understanding where New Hampshire citizens stand on the issues is an important part of making civil marriage for same-sex couples a reality in this great state," she said. "New Hampshire has traditionally valued individual freedoms, and this poll is further proof of that."