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Everyday New Yorkers for Marriage Equality

Everyday New Yorkers for Marriage Equality


The latest video in the Human Rights Campaign series takes the spotlight off high-profile New Yorkers and puts the focus on everyday people as a new Quinnipiac University poll finds support for marriage equality in the state at a record high of 58%.

A variety of New Yorkers give their take on the theme that "love is love" for the new video filmed in Manhattan. The testimonials run for nearly two minutes, longer than the 30-second spots online and on New York City's Taxi TV that have featured famous New Yorkers such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Anna Wintour, Whoopi Goldberg, and Rangers forward Sean Avery, among many others.

In other marriage-related news, a new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday finds support for marriage equality among New York voters at 58% and opposition at 36%, a record for the Q poll. The findings reflect a Siena poll from April that found support at 58% and opposition at 36% for the first time and has become central to messaging from the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition working with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pass the bill this session.

"Popular support for marriage equality keeps breaking records," said Brian Ellner, senior strategist for HRC in New York, in response to the Quinnipiac poll. "Let's get this done."

According to the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, "Support for legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry is 58-36 percent, higher than ever while statistically unchanged from 56-38 percent April 14. Support is 72-23 percent among Democrats and 58-34 percent among independent voters, while Republicans are opposed 64-34 percent. There is little gender gap: men support same-sex marriage 58-37 percent, while women back it 59-34 percent."

In comparison, the Siena poll from April showed a near-even split at 45% to 48% among Republican voters, a key constituency for the marriage equality bill, which needs the support of at least three Republican senators to pass, depending on how three undecided Democratic senators vote. Currently, 26 senators, all Democrats, publicly support the bill. The bill passed the Assembly three times but failed by a 24 to 38 vote in the Senate in 2009, with no Republicans voting in favor.

Like the Siena poll from April, the new Quinnipiac poll shows majority support for marriage equality among voters in New York City (61%), upstate (55%) and the suburbs (59%), the latter two regions especially important given the strong representation by Republican lawmakers. The new poll also reflects the Siena poll from April in showing that marriage equality, while "very" or "somewhat" important to voters at 51%, takes a backseat to other legislative priorities including ethics reform at 82% and a property tax cap at 79%, both of which Gov. Cuomo is also pressing.

Still, the Quinnipiac poll brings another jolt of urgency to the marriage equality campaign, with just days remaining in the legislative session scheduled to end on June 20 and no bill introduced yet in the senate. Governor Cuomo and the coalition have indicated they want to see a vote in the Senate only if assured the bill has the 32 votes needed to pass.

The latest survey also provides a boost over a Siena poll from May that showed support had slipped to 54% and opposition had jumped to 42% following the historic gains in April. Advocates downplayed the findings in May as anomalous to the overall trend of growing support for marriage equality.

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Julie Bolcer