Poll: Rhode Island voters support same-sex marriage
The majority of Rhode Island voters support legal recognition of same-sex marriages in the state for the first time, according to the results of a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research survey released Wednesday, Aug. 18 in cooperation with the Rhode Island Marriage Coalition (RIMC), a broad-based group of LGBT advocacy organizations.
59 percent of those polled indicated that they would support marriage equality in the state, representing a ten-point increase since 2008. Of those, 38 percent said that they "strongly favor" legalizing same-sex marriage.
"This poll makes it clear that there is no reason why we can’t enact a marriage equality law in Rhode Island within the year," Kathy Kushnir, Executive Director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI), a member of the RIMC, said in a prepared statement. "Rhode Islanders are ready to allow loving, committed same-sex couples to gain the dignity and respect that marriage brings, along with all of the legal rights and obligations that marriage brings. That is great news."
502 likely voters were asked if they "strongly favor," "somewhat favor," "somewhat oppose," or "strongly oppose" legal recognition of same-sex marriages in the state of Rhode Island. Surprisingly, the survey found that 63 percent of Catholics indicated that they are in favor of marriage equality after being informed that same-sex marriage wouldn’t infringe on a church’s right to marry whomever they choose. In addition, 64 percent of parents support marriage equality.
As to the reason for the sea change, pollsters and politicos indicated that Rhode Island may be following the pattern set by other New England states that have legalized same-sex marriage.
"Rhode Island is ahead of the national trend of growing support for marriage equality," said Lee Swislow, Executive Director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). "Rhode Islanders have seen from their border states Massachusetts and Connecticut -- along with other New England states -- the joy that allowing same-sex couples to publicly affirm their love and commitment brings not only to those couples, but to the communities in which they live."
"As many of Rhode Island’s sister states have implemented marriage equality, the majority support we see in this poll is not all that surprising," said Dave Walker, Vice President of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. "Rhode Island voters are clearly ready for change."