By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com May 15 2013 3:56 PM ET
Momentum for marriage equality is spreading beyond the safely liberal strongholds of the East Coast, according to several new polls that found majority support for the freedom to marry in locales as diverse as Michigan, Virginia, and even Arizona.
A recent poll of Michigan voters found that 56.8% of Michiganders support marriage equality, according to The Detroit News. That's a sharp reversal from last year, when just over 44% of Michiganders supported marriage equality. It's an even more stark departure from 2004, when Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. That ban is now being challenged in a federal district court, though the judge considering the lawsuit has said he won't decide the case until the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling on two marriage equality cases, expected in June.
Support for marriage equality is even spreading south of the Mason-Dixon line to Virginia. A recent Washington Post poll found that 56% of Virginians support the freedom to marry — a 10% increase from support in 2011. In 2006, Virginians approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman by a margin of roughly 57%, according to the Post. Interestingly, while a majority of Democratic voters in Virginia have supported the freedom to marry since 2006, 40% of Republicans polled also supported marriage equality — marking an increase of 25 percentage points in support in just six years.
Even Arizona, where the legislature is currently considering a bill that would forbid transgender people from using the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, is feeling the push toward marriage equality. Although Arizona voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2008, 55% of voters now favor marriage equality, according to a Rocky Mountain Poll released Wednesday and published at TalkingPointsMemo. Opposition to the freedom to marry among registered voters is just 35%, according to the poll. Support for marriage equality was high among women, Latinos, and voters under the age of 55. But even among voters older than 54, 46% support marriage equality, while 40% of the demographic is opposed.