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Poll Shows More Vermonters Favor Same-Sex Marriage - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Poll Shows More Vermonters Favor Same-Sex Marriage

Burlington, Vermont - November 1, 2007

With the Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection meeting across the state this year, and gay marriage a likely future legislative issue, how to Vermonters feel about allowing same-sex couples to marry?

According to a WCAX statewide poll 47% of adults favor allowing same-sex couples to marry, while 41% oppose it.

Advocates on both sides of the issue say the results come as no surprise, though each have varying opinions on why.

Beth Robinson of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force says more people are getting comfortable with the idea of gay marriage, because more people are getting comfortable with gay couples.

"With each passing day more and more Vermonters get to know their gay and lesbian neighbors, see us caring for our elderly parents or trick-or-treating with our kids or celebrating the Red Sox or volunteering in our communities, basically struggling with the same struggles that all Vermonters face and celebrating the same joys that all Vermonters celebrate," says Robinson.

Advocates against gay marriage blame the numbers on a different reason. Stephen Cable of Vermont Renewal - a group devoted to defending traditional marriage - says marriage rights advocates have been unencumbered in their message recently. He says his group and others like it have not been as loud about their message. That's something he says will change soon when Vermont Renewal launches an educational campaign showing new information about the benefits of traditional marriage.

"The social scientists who haven't really closely looked at the benefits of marriage have done that now :24 and the conclusive facts that are the facts of marriage, the social good the private welfare that it provides are undeniable now," says Cable.

Cable says next year he expects the poll results to be drastically different, with more Vermonters opposing gay marriage, but that would be a reversal of the current trend.

When WCAX conducted the same poll last year, it found 44% in favor and 48% opposed. That means in just one year the number of supporters has grown by 3%, while the number of those opposed has dropped 7%.

Robinson says that's a sign of overall growing support, and an inevitable move toward same-sex marriage.

"Oh it's absolutely a question of when and not whether," says Robinson.

The final vote will be up to the legislature but with the Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection meeting across the state public opinion will play a big part in that ultimate decision.

Bianca Slota - WCAX News

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