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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Poll suggests shift in Mass. public opinion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Perhaps reflecting a shift in public opinion, a new Zogby International poll shows that a majority of Massachusetts’ likely voters affirm the traditional definition of marriage and are split even on the controversial Nov. 18 court decision.

The survey of 601 likely voters, conducted Dec. 16-18 for the Coalition for Marriage, found that by a 52-42 percent margin voters believe that marriage should be reserved for opposite-sex couples.

Additionally, 46 percent of voters say lawmakers should prevent the ruling from taking effect, 48 percent disagreed.

If correct, the poll reflects a shift in public opinion regarding the decision by the Massachusetts high court favoring same-sex “marriage.” Shortly after that decision a Boston Globe poll showed Massachusetts adults supporting the ruling by a 50-38 margin, while a Boston Sunday Herald poll showed voters supporting it by a 49-38 percent margin.

“It seems the more people consider the long-term impact of homosexual marriage on the family and society, the more they oppose homosexual marriage,” Ron Crews, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said in a statement.

The poll also found that 69 percent of voters want the option of voting on a state constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage, although they remain divided on whether it should pass. Forty-eight percent agreed that “marriage is such an important institution that it should be defined in our constitution as the union of a man and a woman.” Forty-nine percent disagreed.

The poll also found that 69 percent of voters believe it is best for children to be raised by a married man and woman.

The Coalition for Marriage is a group of organizations that want to see the traditional definition of marriage protected by law.

HOMOSEXUALS SUPPORT DEAN — Homosexual activists have played a critical role in former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s run for the presidency, according to The Washington Post.

According to the newspaper, “With just one exception, every fundraiser Dean attended outside Vermont in 2002 was organized by gay men and lesbians, as were more than half the events in the first quarter of 2003, according to Dean advisers.”

Dean finance director Stephanie Schriock told The Post that the “early foundation of Governor Dean’s presidential campaign — both in fundraising and organization — was built by the support of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community around the country.”

Dean believes the federal Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Clinton in 1996, is unconstitutional. The act gives states the option of not recognizing same-sex “marriages” from another state, such as Massachusetts.

As governor of Vermont, Dean signed the nation’s only same-sex civil union law.

IOWA RULING AMENDED — Iowa judge Jeffrey Neary has amended his controversial same-sex “divorce” ruling, although conservatives say their lawsuit will go forward.

In the amended ruling, issued in late December, Neary says the same-sex couple’s “civil union” — and not marriage — has been terminated, according to KCCI-TV in Des Moines. In November Neary granted the two homosexual women a “divorce,” not realizing that it was a Vermont civil union involving a same-sex couple. But upon learning of his mistake, he said the ruling would stand as-is.

Conservatives argue that Iowa has no jurisdiction in civil unions because they are recognized only in Vermont. The Iowa Supreme Court will consider the case Jan. 12, without oral arguments, according to The Quad-City Times newspaper.

N.J. BILL ADVANCES — A bill legalizing domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples passed the New Jersey state senate Jan. 8 by a vote of 23-9. It now goes to Democrat Gov. James E. McGreevey, who has said he would sign it.

Businesses would not be required to offer health insurance to same-sex partners, although insurance companies would be required to make it available, according to the Associated Press.

The bill also includes some benefits for unmarried heterosexual couples ages 62 and up.

FEINGOLD FIGHTING — Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisc., says he’ll fight any move to pass a federal constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition of marriage.

“It is unbelievable to me that we would use our Constitution to deal with an issue like that,” Feingold told The Capital Times newspaper in Wisconsin.

But Feingold’s own constituents disagree, if polls are correct. A Badger Poll in December showed that by a 64-29 percent margin Wisconsin residents favor a marriage amendment to the state constitution.

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  • Michael Foust