Poll: Majority of Hawaii voters support legalizing same-sex marriage

Poll: Majority of Hawaii voters support legalizing same-sex marriage

HONOLULU — The results of a statewide survey among registered Hawaii voters show there is growing support for allowing same-sex couples to marry.

According to the survey, 55 percent of voters said they support legalizing same-sex marriage, including 39 percent of voters who “strongly” favor it. Only 36 percent of voters said they opposed legalizing same-sex marriage.

The poll, conducted for Equality Hawaii Foundation by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, found that support is strongest among voters 35 years and younger (64 percent in favor, 32 percent opposed). The margin with voters over 50 was smaller, even though a major were still in favor (53 percent compared to 38 percent opposed).

“These numbers mirror what national polls are showing, that a clear majority of the public supports allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married. Even among the older generation of voters in Hawaii, we see majority support for the freedom to marry,” said Donald L. Bentz, executive director of Equality Hawaii Foundation.

The poll found that more people believe that a key reason same-sex couples marry is for love and commitment.

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A plurality (47 percent) believes that gay couples married for love and commitment, or for both love/commitment and for benefits. Only 35 percent indicated they believe same-sex couples only marry for the rights and benefits, like tax advantages.

The Equality Hawaii poll reflects a six-point increase over a 2011 Public Policy poll that found 49 percent of voters supported legalizing same-sex marriage.

Two bills were introduced in the Hawaii state legislature last week, both aimed at legalizing same-sex marriage. A third bill seeks a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

In 2011, Hawaii legalized civil unions for same-sex couples; that law took effect January 1, 2012.

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