Five years after amending the state constitution to ban same-sex, Virginians are now closely divided over whether gay unions should be legal, according to a new Washington Post poll.
Forty-seven percent of Virginians say gay couples should be allowed to legally wed, and 43 percent are opposed, according to the poll.
The results mirror a dramatic and rapid shift in national public opinion about gay rights in recent years. The evolving public opinion could create a challenge in the key political battleground for the commonwealth’s Republicans, who are almost universally opposed to gay marriage, if voters think the GOP is falling out of sync with the electorate.
But the results also present complications for Virginia Democrats, who have moved more slowly than their national counterparts to embrace liberal social stands for fear of alienating independent voters.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Tuesday that “the people of Virginia have spoken,” referring to the constitutional amendment passed in 2006.
“They’ve already enshrined in the Virginia Constitution that gay marriage is not permitted, so unless there is another effort to change the Constitution, that matter is settled. […] That’s something that I support. That was the right decision,” he said.
Fifty-five percent of Virginians said gay couples should be able to legally adopt children, the Post reported.