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Poll: Support for amendment up since Bush announcement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A new CBS News poll suggests that support for a constitutional marriage amendment has increased slightly since President Bush called on Congress to send an amendment to the states.

The poll showed that 59 percent of Americans favored an amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting the traditional definition of marriage – up from 55 percent from a December CBS News/New York Times poll that asked an identical question.

In addition, the poll showed that a majority favors an amendment even if the question is re-phrased. Pollsters divided the sample in half and asked two different questions:

— “Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow marriage only between a man and a woman?” By a 59-35 percent margin Americans said they favored an amendment. The December poll used this wording.

— “Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow marriage only between a man and a woman, and outlaw marriages between people of the same sex?” Answering this question, Americans favored an amendment by a 51-42 percent margin.

Approximately 770 people were asked each question.

The poll also showed that Americans continue to oppose same-sex “marriage” legalization by a margin of 2 to 1. Sixty-two percent of adults said they would “oppose a law that would allow homosexual couples to marry, giving them the same legal rights as other married couples.” Only thirty percent favored it. The question was asked of the entire sample of 1,545 adults.

The poll was conducted Feb. 24-27, after President Bush publicly embraced a marriage amendment that would ban same-sex “marriage.”

The poll comes as San Francisco city officials continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state law.

The California Supreme Court has asked the San Francisco county clerk to file legal briefs by March 5 in response to lawsuits brought by the California attorney general and the Alliance Defense Fund.

The Alliance Defense Fund filed briefs Feb. 25 on behalf of San Francisco citizens seeking to halt the city’s issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. ADF is asking for an immediate stay against the city. The court has yet to agree to hear the case.

“We’re encouraged that the court has ordered expedited treatment of the case, especially in light of the glacially slow process in the superior court,” Benjamin Bull, chief counsel for ADF, said in a statement. “The court is proceeding in exactly the right way; we see the door on the improper attempt to redefine marriage beginning to slam shut.”

Another pro-family group, Liberty Counsel, filed briefs March 1 seeking to intervene in the case before the state Supreme Court, saying that Attorney General Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, does not adequately represent the people of California. Liberty Counsel is representing the Campaign for California Families and its executive director, Randy Thomasson.

Liberty Counsel also filed briefs asserting that the city of San Francisco cannot base its arguments on the state constitution’s equal protection clause. The equal protection clause, Liberty Counsel attorneys argue, is a right of individuals, and not the government.

“They lack standing to assert those claims,” the brief states.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has cited the state constitution’s equal protection clause in explaining his actions.

In New York state, confusion surrounds the same-sex “weddings” performed in the town of New Paltz Feb. 27. The mayor performed the ceremonies, known as “solemnizations,” although the clerk refused to issue marriage licenses. The mayor, Jason West, has promised to continue the “weddings” March 6.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, said he would not seek an injunction because there was no threat of irreparable harm, according to The New York Times. The newspaper also quoted an aide to Spitzer as saying the attorney general favors same-sex “marriage.”

“Mr. Spitzer has made it clear that he thinks gay marriage should be legal,” the aide, Darren Dopp, said.
For more information on the debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit BP’s story collection at:

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  • Michael Foust