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Majority of State’s Residents Support Gay Marriage

Majority of State’s Residents Support Gay Marriage


A slender majority of Pennsylvania voters support legalizing gay marriage, according to various polls administered throughout the state. This slim majority may come into play as the matter reaches the United States Supreme Court next month.

Roughly 52 percent of Pennsylvania residents support gay marriage, according to polls issued by Franklin & Marshall. The majority is a dramatic increase from the 33 percent of those who supported the measure in 2006. The increased support runs parallel to a national trend the results of other polls presented in several liberal states.

Chris Borick, a pollster for Muhlenberg College, has been analyzing the fluctuation in views on gay marriage. Such analysis reveals that support rose from 35 percent in 2004 to 42 percent in 2009, to a shade over 52 percent in 2011. In regards to polling results, Borick claims this shift is “meteoric.”

The shift if largely generational as Pennsylvanians below the age of 35 widely support gay marriage—nearly 80 percent of residents below this age support gay rights in general, while those over the age of 55 only support gay marriage by 42 percent.

The shift and issue in general has seen dramatic turning points in just the past year. President Obama voiced his support for gay rights and gay marriage before his 2012 election. The Democratic Party added the issue to their platform, and the president’s inaugural address was the first in the history of the United States to mention gay rights.

Towards the end of March, the United State Supreme Court will hear arguments over the constitutionality of two laws: one from California and one federal that defines marriage as taking place only between one woman and one man. Nine states in the U.S.—Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Iowa, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington—have legalized gay marriage.

The president of Equality Pennsylvania, Adrian Shanker, said Pennsylvanians and the majority of Americans—particularly younger people—are now viewing gay rights, particularly the right to marry, as a matter of civil rights.

“In just six years, which is not long in terms of public opinion for the bulk of issues, we’ve seen a sea of change. Hearts and minds are changing; those who actively oppose gay marriage are shrinking every single day.”

President Obama’s immigration plan will offer same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. This initiative has triggered opposition from several Republicans. Moreover, the Boy Scouts of America is now considering allowing openly gay people to participate in the organization. This decision; however is experiencing delays due to strong-push backs.