Poll: Majority of Californians oppose gay marriage ban

A slight majority of California voters oppose a measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that would impose a constitutional ban on gay marriage, according to the first Field Poll on the measure.

The findings released Thursday are consistent with a May poll on the issue before Proposition 8 qualified for the ballot. The issue has received heightened attention since the state Supreme Court in May struck down a law approved by voters in 2000 that banned gay marriages.

This time, Californians likely to vote in the Nov. 4 election were asked specifically about Proposition 8, which would enshrine in the state constitution that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Fifty-one percent of respondents said they oppose the proposed ban; 42 percent support it; and 7 percent are undecided.

While voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 22, the statute that banned gay marriage in 2000, the new poll suggests a "reluctance by Californians to tinker with the constitution," said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.

The highest percentage of respondents who opposed Proposition 8 in the poll were 18- to 29-year-olds (55 percent) and 50- to 64-year-olds (57 percent).

The latter demographic, DiCamillo said, "are people who grew up in the '60s and early '70s and they may be a little more tolerant to differences in lifestyles."

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