Large Majority of Connecticut Voters Support Religious Liberty Protections in SB 899

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4/16/2009

By wide margins, voters don’t want same sex marriage bill without strong religious freedom protection.

A significant majority of Connecticut voters want significant changes to a proposed Connecticut law on same sex marriage, according to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll.

With the Connecticut legislature considering the implementation of the state’s Supreme Court decision in Kerrigan, which mandated same sex marriage, the poll found that Connecticut voters want any legislation to steer clear of violating First Amendment religious liberty protections and oppose many of the legislation’s potential consequences.

Voters are nearly evenly divided (within the margin of error) on the issue of support for politicians who support same sex marriage legislation (with 1 in 5 undecided).

But, by a 3 to 1 margin (57 percent to 19 percent), Connecticut voters are less likely to support a politician who votes in favor of same sex marriage legislation without religious liberty protection for faith based organizations.

Among the poll’s other key findings:

• 7 in 10 disapprove or strongly disapprove of imposing penalties or fines on public officials who refuse to perform same sex marriages for religious reasons.

• By a more than 2 to 1 margin (65 percent to 27 percent) voters disapprove or strongly disapprove of allowing affirmative action quotas and preferences based on sexual orientation for gays and lesbians.

• By a more than 2 to 1 margin (63 percent to 30 percent) voters oppose a law that would allow the promotion in school curriculum of a gay or lesbian lifestyle.

The poll also found that support for same sex marriage legislation erodes on a host of issues that SB 899 would pave the way for – either by attempting to overturn First Amendment religious liberty, or by rescinding prohibitions on state action as the bill does in Section 17.

• 83 percent of Connecticut voters are less likely to support the law if it results in businesses being forced to set preferences and quotas based on sexual orientation for gays and lesbians.

• 72 percent are less likely to support the bill if it penalizes public officials who refuse to perform same sex marriages based on religious beliefs.

• 67 percent are less likely to support the bill if religious adoption agencies that place children only in homes with a mother and father would be sued and forced to close.

• 55 percent are less likely to support the bill if gays and lesbians are given special protected status and a greater opportunity to file legal actions.

Overall, Connecticut residents divide on the issue of same sex marriage. 51 percent say that marriage should be only between a man and a woman, 48 percent disagree.

The survey of 760 registered voters who live in Connecticut was conducted by telephone from April 13th to April 15th, 2009 by Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. The survey has a margin of error +/- 4%.