May 24, 2012 at 10:59 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Poll: Majority of black Marylanders back same-sex marriage
Marylanders for Marriage Equality, gay news, gay politics dc, same-sex marriage, gay marriage

Marylanders for Marriage Equality. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

A new poll indicates that a majority of black Marylanders would vote for the state’s same-sex marriage law in the likely November referendum.

The Public Policy Polling survey found that 55 percent of the state’s African Americans would vote for the law, compared to 36 percent who said they would oppose it. PPP pollster Tom Jensen noted that support for the statute among black Marylanders has increased nearly 20 percent since March.

The poll further noted that 57 percent of Maryland voters would support the law if the referendum makes the ballot. A previous PPP survey commissioned by Marylanders for Marriage Equality in March found that 52 percent of state voters would back the same-sex marriage law.

“Things are moving in Maryland,” said Josh Levin, campaign manager for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. “We’re approaching a supermajority who want to uphold the state’s new marriage law. The message of stronger families and basic fairness is resonating, and we’re confident Maryland will be the first state to win a ballot measure on marriage.”

This poll comes less than a week after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which is headquartered in Baltimore, endorsed marriage rights for same-sex couples during its National Board of Directors’ quarterly meeting in Miami. This announcement came less than two weeks after President Barack Obama publicly backed the issue during an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll on Wednesday indicated that the president’s support of marriage rights for same-sex couples has already had a significant impact on public opinion among African Americans on the issue—59 percent of black respondents said they support nuptials for gays and lesbians. This figure is an 18-point increase from polls that had been taken before Obama publicly backed the issue.

“The president’s backing of marriage equality has added to our momentum– and his being on the November ballot also helps us,” said Levin. “Younger voters, who are overwhelmingly supportive, are much more likely to turn out in a presidential year.”

Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville is among those who continue to oppose the same-sex marriage law that Gov. Martin O’Malley signed in March.

“I am encouraged by this polling data that shows that while Maryland was the eighth state to pass marriage equality, if all those votes were cast today, Maryland would become the first state to protect the freedom to marry at the ballot box,” Del. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) told the Blade.

She added that the passage of the state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman in North Carolina earlier this month proved that referendum opponents must not let their guard down.

“The sad story of North Carolina is that the flood of resources in terms of money and people from across the country came too late,” said Washington. “We must remember that the opposition is seeing the same number and so it is critical that we secure early and ongoing support from Marylanders and all those from across the country who would share in this victory in November.”

O’Malley spokesperson Raquel Guillory shared a similar view.

“There is still more work that needs to be done,” she told the Blade. “We never take anything for granted but these numbers clearly show that momentum is growing and more Marylanders support marriage equality and religious freedom.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Propaganda masquerading as news. *yawn*.

    In truth, if the gay marriage question is presented to voters, gay marriage will be properly banned, as it has already in over 30 states. Which block of voters is going to be the most motivated to come to the polls – those supporting gay marriage, and those who oppose it? Read your history. The answer is most alarming to those who want perverts to enjoy the same “rights” as natural couples.

    Oh, and Obama’s pandering to those perverts will cost him the White House this November.

    • One wonders why a homophobe would read the Blade website……Anyway, obviously the tide of history – the history of gay liberation since the 1950’s as part of the gradual spreading of equality in all sorts of areas as promised in the Declaration of Independence – is on the side of marriage equality. Eventually the millions of dollars from Mormon and Catholic churches etc. spent on antigay advertising in elections, which are generally timed for low turnout primaries, will not be enough. And relevant Supreme Court decisions will probably mean that the voting against other citizen’s rights will not work.

    • Defending marriage is a good thing. Defending what straights have done to marriage as a “god-given”, is a travesty. Let’s use Rush’s love life as an example. The eagle has landed in a messy nest it made for itself. Let religion guide you down that straight road to hell, while love will take the rest of us to heaven.

    • Tammy Bruce, is that you?

    • Sorry FemEagle, but you are thinking of States which voted on this from 4 to 10 years ago. Even 4 years ago marriage equality was lagging in the polls. But over those years support for marriage equality has gone up and up and up.

      Now 12 separate polls over the last year have shown that marriage equality has finally reached majority support. Many of the States which passed bans, if held today would fail to pass them. Granted you have a point that the fundamentalist religious nuts NEVER miss a vote, so they have an advantage over those who support marriage equality but it’s not going to motivate them to get to the polls. But Obama being on the ballot will.

      And soon it won’t matter who’s on the ballot, as marriage equality continues to gain widespread support and it won’t matter how many fundamentalists go to the polls, they won’t win.

      Of course, denying marriage equality is a violation of the U.S. Constitution anyhow. So… eventually too, the Supreme Court will strike them all down.

  • This update on the current polls is very encouraging. Hopefully, we can keep same-sex marriage rights in Maryland after fighting off the bigots who want to deny marriage equality. It would be great to see the people vote in a referendum for marriage equality, as this would be the death nell for the rotten religious-right bigots efforts to deny equality across. I hope they savored their final victory in the backwards state of North Carolina, because that was probably their last. I also don’t mind that Washington State will share the honor of being the first state to win marriage equality at the ballot box with Maryland, as the votes will take place on the same day; along with a hopeful win in Maine where the people can actually vote to bring same-sex marriage to the state. Of course, there is also the campaign in Minnesota to stop the banning of same-sex marriage there that we also need to win.

  • Isn’t it interesting that FemEagle reads the Blade- maybe a closeted uptight queer. But seriously Maryland will be a state that approves marriage-equality. They will do so because it is the right thing to do.

  • Complacency (which a poll like this may very well encourage) is a bad thing for the LGBT community. The Maryland anti-gay campaign by the hate groups has yet to begin. They know what scare tactics work. Those tactics have been tested in many states and proven to be effective.

    This is a good start in May — but let’s see how the polls look in September before we begin to celebrate.

  • I agree with Steve. There still is work that needs to be done. Where is the decline to sign campaign in Maryland? Who is registering young gay voters?

  • ***
    This is a good start in May — but let’s see how the polls look in September before we begin to celebrate.
    I agree with Steve. There still is work that needs to be done. Where is the decline to sign campaign in Maryland? Who is registering young gay voters?
    Good report, Michael. I’m excited by these early results in the wake of President Obama’s and NAACP’s endorsements of marriage equality. But I’m pleased to agree with Steve and Willy, too. Five months is a very long time in politics when robust campaign efforts by strong opposition groups is assured. After all, Bishop Jackson is working on his ‘home turf’ — for a change.

  • Lesson 1 from Prop 8: Never rely solely on polls. Lesson 2: Never poll what people MAY do in the future. When the equality opponents start hitting the airwaves about how kids will be in danger, the bottom falls out. Read the Prop 8 report:

  • The polling data in California five months out showed pro-marriage equality winning the Prop 8 battle by a similar number: May 22, 2008 Los Angeles Times/KTLA (705 registered voters) 54% NO 35% YES

    This was before the anti-gay propoganda–sponsored and paid for by the Roman Catholic Church and Mormon hierarchy–rolled into that state to overturn marriage for gay couples.
    They are starting to pass a second collection plate in Roman Catholic Churches in Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington state –and elsewhere–in yet another attempt to deny equality to all U.S. citizens. Rather than help the poor, they seek to discriminate against gay couples who want to get married.

  • Prop 8 polling data are instructive, yes. Never underestimate the power of institutional religion to bring out the worst in people.

    We’re on the cusp of the tipping point, here in Maryland.

    I fear November 2012 may be a tad bit early in the ongoing evolution. My guess is that we’ll lose this one — but only by a point or two or three.

    Future votes will yield better results, however.

  • August 19, 2012
    In Defense of Family
    Dear Fellow Marylanders:
    I am a culinary food scientist who arrived in Baltimore a quarter century ago with little more than my degree in hand. I embarked on a career with local food manufactures feeding you milk, bread, and spices. I have lived for over two decades with my life-partner, a health care administrator with a renowned medical institution of this region.
    We are vested stewards of our Baltimore City block. The Stars and Stripes routinely fly over our Riverside home from Flag through Defenders Day.
    I helped my partner raise his son, who made his Army Dads extremely proud by serving this Nation honorably in Iraq. Enchanted and enthralled, I cradled that soldier’s new born daughter in my arms a few hours after her birth in a maternity ward in Western Maryland. Honored and humbled, I held that baby’s great-grandfather in my arms just hours before his passing in Hospice on the eastern shore. Sadly, these loved-ones engraved upon my heart are not, according to the law of our State, my kin.
    My partner and I ask our fellow citizens, for whom we’ve devoted our careers nourishing and nurturing, to expand their definitions of “family values”. Please uphold civil marriage equity for all Maryland families.
    William Borner
    Baltimore City

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