Religious right poll contradicts trends on gay marriage

A poll released Thursday by Public Opinion Strategies shows that 62 percent of Americans say that marriage in the United States should be between a man and a woman.

POS, a Republican polling firm, was hired by religious right outfit Alliance Defense Fund to conduct the poll. The poll’s numbers stand in stark contrast to a series of polls that show majority support for same-sex marriage among the American electorate, and come on the eve of a contentious push in New York to legalize gay marriage.

The Alliance Defense Fund — founded in part by Focus on the Family, Campus Crusade for Christ and the American Family Association, which has been dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — paid for the poll. The ADF opposes any rights for same-sex couples including marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefits.

The poll found that 63 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, “I believe marriage should be defined ONLY as a union between one man and one woman,” with 53 percent strongly agreeing with the statement. Thirty-five percent disagreed.

The poll’s sponsors did not release methodology or crosstabs, but did release basic information (PDF).

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which is also listed as a hate group by the SPLC, praised the poll.

“This survey is a reflection of the voters in 31 states who have voted overwhelmingly to preserve marriage at the ballot box – with Minnesota, North Carolina and Indiana next in line with referendums,” he said. “As New York legislators debate a marriage redefinition bill, they should consider the impact on families, children and religious liberty. In 2006, the New York Court of Appeals reasonably concluded that the legislature has a legitimate interest in promoting responsible procreation and can ‘rationally’ believe that children need both a mother and a father.”

The poll contrasts with several mainstream polls released in recent months that found majority support for same-sex marriage. A Gallup poll in early May found that 53 percent of Americans support gay marriage. A CNN poll asked the same question in April and found 51 percent in support of gay marriage. The Washington Post released a poll in March showing 53 percent of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples.

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