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Poll: Opposition
to Virginia same-sex marriage amendment grows

Poll: Opposition
to Virginia same-sex marriage amendment grows

Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Virginia marginally picked up support over the past six weeks, according to a new statewide poll published in Richmond on Tuesday. Support for the proposed change in the state constitution dropped from 56% in late July to 54% in last week's telephone survey of 625 registered voters likely to participate in the November 7 election. Opposition to the measure, meanwhile, increased from 38% to 40%, Mason-Dixon Polling and Research found. Six percent remained undecided, a figure unchanged from the previous survey. Virginia is one of at least six states voting on a constitutional ban on same-sex unions this fall. Voters in 20 states already have approved such amendments, most of them overwhelmingly. Virginia already has a law that forbids same-sex unions, as do 25 other states. The lead supporters enjoyed narrowed from 18 percentage points to 14 points, a decrease equal to the poll's margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. "I am very gratified by the fact that the momentum's all been in our direction," said Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, manager of the Commonwealth Coalition, a campaign leading opposition to the amendment. "My bottom line is that every educated voter is a 'no' voter, so I've just got to find more voters and educate them," she said. Unlike the procedure followed for the July poll, the polling firm read respondents the full text of the proposed amendment as it will appear on the ballot. In the previous poll, participants were read only the first of three sentences that would be written into the state constitution. The first sentence states that unions of one man and one woman will be recognized in Virginia as marriage. The final two sentences bar the state or any localities from recognizing any legal arrangements intended to approximate marriage. Omitting the final two sentences was critical, Gastanaga and other opponents argue, because it could jeopardize the right of unmarried individuals to enter into personal contracts. "I guess they didn't get the big jump they [opponents] thought they would from including the whole ballot question," said Chris Freund, a spokesman for the Family Foundation. (Bob Lewis, AP)

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