March 9, 2012 at 9:55 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Maryland backers of gay marriage bill release poll showing 52% support

Maryland voters may be ready to back same-sex nuptials when they go to the ballot box this fall. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A poll released Thursday shows that 52 percent of a sample of registered voters in Maryland would “definitely” or “probably” vote in favor of the state’s same-sex marriage bill in a referendum expected to be held in November.

The poll, commissioned by the same-sex marriage advocacy coalition Marylanders for Marriage Equality, shows that 44 percent of the voters polled would “definitely” or “probably” vote against the bill in a referendum.

Four percent of those sampled said they were unsure of how they would vote. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

The poll of 600 Maryland voters was conducted March 5-7 by the national political polling firm Public Policy Polling. Marylanders for Marriage Equality commissioned the firm to do the poll.

Voters participating in the poll were asked to respond to this question:

“The state legislature recently approved a law allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry in Maryland, and there is likely to be a statewide referendum in the November election on whether to keep the law. If the election were held today, do you think you would vote for or vote against the recently-approved law allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry?

The findings show that 41 percent said they would “definitely vote for the law;” 11 percent said they would “probably vote for it;” 39 percent said they would “definitely” vote against it; 5 percent said they would “probably” vote against it; and 4 percent said they weren’t sure.

“This is good news for thousands of families and their children all over the state,” said marriage bill supporter Penny Nicholas in a statement released by the Campaign for Marriage Equality.

Nicholas is identified by the campaign as a straight African American mother who testified in favor of the bill last month before the Maryland legislature on behalf of her lesbian daughter.

“A majority of voters realize that committed, loving gay and lesbian couples want the best for their children—which means making sure their kids are treated equally under the law,” Nicholas said in the statement.

The National Organization for Marriage, which is expected to work with at least two Maryland groups in the referendum campaign to defeat the bill, has predicted voters in the state would overwhelming vote against the legalizing same-sex marriage.

Both sides have begun raising money for what political observers expect to be an acrimonious  campaign leading up to the November election.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • My asumption is that so far the fight for marriage-equality in Maryland was all done without help from FREEDOM to Marry. I would hope after seeing these polls that they will now get involved in this effort to ensure that any referendum to overturn civil marriage-equality in Maryland is defeated.

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