July 11, 2013 at 11:29 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Poll: Majority of Va. residents support same-sex marriage

Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign, gay news, Washington Blade

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin (Washington Blade file photo by Blake Bergen)

The Human Rights Campaign on Thursday unveiled a new survey that indicates a majority of Virginians support same-sex marriage.

55 percent of respondents who took part in the poll that Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Target Point Consulting conducted between June 26-30 said they back nuptials for gays and lesbians. 71 percent of Virginians under the age of 30, and 58 percent of African Americans who live in the commonwealth also indicated they back same-sex marriage.

The survey found 68 percent of Northern Virginia residents back marriage rights for same-sex couples, compared to 53 percent of those who live in Central Virginia and 51 percent who live in Eastern Virginia.

A third of Republican respondents also back nuptials for gays and lesbians.

The survey also found 74 percent of adults — 71 percent of African Americans and 62 percent of Republicans — in Virginia support a bill that would ban anti-LGBT employment discrimination in the commonwealth.

“The future of equality is bright in Virginia,” HRC President Chad Griffin said during a press conference in Richmond. “As we’ve seen nationally, a decisive majority of people think it’s just common sense to ensure that no one should ever lose their job simply because of who they are or who they love.”

HRC unveiled the poll results two days after the American Civil Liberties Union announced it plans to challenge Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

State Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) referenced scripture as he noted in a statement that HRC unveiled the poll 15 days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

“We will not stop fighting until ALL Virginians are treated equally under the law,” he said.

HRC endorses McAuliffe, Northam and Herring

Griffin on Thursday also announced his organization’s endorsements of former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe and state Sens. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) and Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The three men will square off against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson and state Sen. Mark Obenshein (R-Harrisonburg) respectively in November.

“Virginians have a choice to make in November. One option — Ken Cuccinelli and Bishop E.W. Jackson — represents harmful beliefs that are not indicative of the mainstream values of either party, Republican or Democrat,” Griffin said. “But Virginians can reject that radical fringe, and instead elect candidates who support fairness, freedom, and dignity for all.”

“Virginia businesses need access to the best and the brightest workforce, teachers, professors, innovators, job creators, and that includes the LGBT community,” Northam added. “That is why we need to turn the ‘open for business’ light on across the commonwealth by making Virginia a welcoming and inclusive place for all our families.”

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

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