May 11, 2011
5/11: NYS Residents Divide Over Same-Sex Marriage
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is a proponent of legalizing same-sex marriage in New York State. But, do New Yorkers agree? A majority of New Yorkers hold a traditional view of marriage and believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. That said, half of the state’s residents also agree with the governor that gay marriage should be legalized in the state. This difference is primarily due to a small proportion of New Yorkers who despite believing marriage should be between a man and a woman also share the view that same-sex marriage should be legalized in the state.
According to this NY1/YNN-Marist Poll, a majority of adults in New York — 53% — say marriage should only be between a man and a woman. 46% do not agree with that definition, and 2% are unsure.
Registered voters also divide on how marriage should be defined. 51% believe marriage is only between a man and a woman while 47% do not share this view. Two percent are unsure.
More than three in four Republicans — 76% — believe that marriage should only take place between a man and a woman while majorities of Democrats — 58% — and those not belonging to a political party — 55% — define marriage differently.
Regionally, nearly six in ten upstate New Yorkers — 59% — and 52% of those in New York City think marriage should only take place between a man and a woman. However, a majority of those living in the city’s suburbs — 55% — believe that description should be revised.
Men and women differ here as well. Nearly six in ten men — 58% — compared with 47% of women adhere to the traditional definition of marriage.
Still, 8% of those who do believe in a traditional definition of marriage favor legalizing same-sex marriage. This compares with the overwhelming proportion — 92% — of those who do not adhere to a traditional definition who support legalizing gay marriage.
On the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage, residents divide. Half of New York State adults — 50% — say gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to legally marry in the state. 25% report they should be allowed to legally form civil unions but not to marry while an additional 25% believe there should be no legal recognition of the relationship between gay and lesbian couples.
Registered voters do not significantly differ in opinion from adults as a whole. Among registered voters, 51% favor legalizing gay marriage while 28% support civil unions but not marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Slightly more than one in five voters — 21% — doesn’t believe there should be any recognition of gay and lesbian relationships.
Majorities of Democrats — 57% — and New Yorkers not enrolled in any political party — 56% — think gay marriage should be legally recognized in the state of New York. However, there is very little consensus among Republicans statewide. 37% support civil unions. 32% believe there should not be any recognition of gay and lesbian relationships while three in ten — 30% — say gay marriage should be legalized.
There are also regional and gender differences on this issue. Majorities in New York City — 56% — and in the city’s suburbs — 53% — support legalizing gay marriage. But only 41% of those upstate agree. Women — 55% — are more likely than men statewide — 44% — to approve of legalizing gay marriage.