More than half of all Californians believe gay and lesbian relationships between consenting adults are not a moral concern, and nearly a third believe same-sex marriages should be legalized, according to a Los Angeles Times poll. The poll also found that by a narrow margin, Californians oppose amending the U.S. Constitution to prevent states from recognizing gay and lesbian marriages. The poll, which surveyed 1,571 adults April 17-21, had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Its results, published in Monday's Times, show that Californians are decidedly more liberal than the rest of the country in their acceptance of gay relationships and gay marriages. A similar poll conducted nationally by the Times last month found only 25% in favor of same-sex marriages, while 48% said they believe same-sex relationships are "morally wrong." Only 40% of those polled in California believe same-sex relationships are morally wrong, while nearly a third support same-sex marriages. "To say because you choose to love someone of your own gender is morally
wrong doesn't make any sense," said Laura Bradley, 44, a married estate planner and probate attorney from Carlsbad. "From what I am aware of, it's not a choice. You either are or you aren't. It doesn't hurt anybody. Who is being harmed by it?"
The new Times poll also found 51% of Californians opposing a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriages, while 43% were in favor. That was the reverse of the national poll's findings. When it came to civil unions, which stop short of granting all the rights of marriage, Californians were closer in step with the rest of the country, according to the poll. Forty percent of Californians said same-sex couples should be allowed to form such unions but not marry, about the same as the national average.
Young adults, both in California and nationally, were more likely to favor same-sex marriage. Nearly half of Californians between 18 and 29 who were polled supported gay marriage, compared with 44% nationwide. Older Californians, however, were more likely than senior citizens nationwide to support gay marriages and civil unions, with 20% of Californians 65 or older favoring gay marriage, compared with 10% nationally. California Republicans were also more liberal on the civil-union issue than
Republicans nationwide. The numbers of Republicans supporting gay marriages in both polls were about the same (8% in California and 6% nationwide), but about half of California's Republicans said they supported same-sex civil unions, compared with only 38% of Republicans nationwide. Forty-four percent of the California Democrats polled favored gay marriage, compared with only about a third nationwide.