(Chicago) – Poll: Cardinal Francis George’s flock is flocking to support same sex marriage, a new poll says.
Illinois voters who identified as Catholic favor gay marriage by a 2-to-1 margin.
Catholic voters actually offered more support for marriage equality legislation when told that some public figures, including Cardinal George and Catholic bishops, oppose marriage between same-sex couples, according to a new poll by Fako & Associates of Lisle, IL, a national public opinion research firm.
Overall, 52 percent of Illinois voters support legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples, and the figure edged up to 54 percent support when pollsters shared information about the summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned federal restrictions against recognizing same-sex marriages.
Equality Illinois, the state’s largest gay rights group, commissioned the poll.
“With Illinois same-sex couples suffering because they cannot access federal benefits available to married couples, the time is now in the fall legislative session for the House to complete its unfinished business on the marriage bill,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, referring to legislation, Senate Bill 10, sponsored by State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), which has already passed the Illinois Senate, but which has stalled in the Illinois House.
“With these poll results, there is certainly no political reason why representatives shouldn’t pass it in overwhelming numbers,” Cherkasov continued. “There are simply no excuses left. We expect every House member who has expressed support publicly or privately for marriage equality or who has been leaning in favor of it to vote ‘aye.'”
Some of the major findings from the statewide poll, taken October 8-10, 2013 include:
- 52 percent supported legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples; 40 percent opposed.
- Support grew to 54 percent, with opposition dropped to 39 percent, when voters contemplated that Illinois gay and lesbian couples still do not have access to over 1,100 federal rights and protections stemming from marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a section of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
- Support stayed solid at 53 percent, with 41 percent opposed, when pollsters read a balanced, factual statement about who supported the bill, including President Barack Obama and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), and who opposed it, including Catholic Cardinal Francis George of Chicago and Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield.
- Catholics supported marriage fairness 61 percent to 32 percent; Catholic support increased to 63 percent, 31 percent opposed, when read the balanced statement that included the bishops’ opposition.
- Hispanic voters supported the freedom to marry 63 percent to 29 percent opposed, a level of support that increased to 70 percent when the Supreme Court decision was explained.
- African American voters favored the law by a 55 percent to 36 percent majority.
- Women supported the proposed marriage law 57 percent to 34 percent opposed.
- And the level of support among all the groups grew the younger the voter being interviewed: 63 percent of voters under 50 backed the law, and that grew to 78 percent support from voters under age 35.
“But Illinois political figures who want to be on the right side of history and who have an eye on the future should take note that every year support for this only strengthens and the electorate favors marriage equality with increasing fervor as the voters get younger,” Chekasov said.
The survey of 600 of Illinois voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.94 percent.