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Nearly 60 percent now favor gay marriage in California

New poll shows highest support in 35 years of surveying public on the issue

California voters are more in favor of same-sex marriage in their state than ever before with 59 percent supporting the unions, according to a Field Poll released on Wednesday (29 February).

The results showed an eight point jump in support from a similar poll taken two years ago. Now, just 34 percent of registered voters disapprove of the marriages. Seven percent did not express an opinion.

This is the highest level of support ever recorded during 35 years of Field Polls on the issue. In 1977, 59 percent of Californians were against same-sex marriage while just 28 percent were in favor.

'Very large or sizable majorities of sub-groups of the state’s electorate now supports allowing same-sex marriage,' The Field Poll states. 'These include voters in each of the four major regions of the state, Democrats,non-partisans, middle-of-the-road and liberal voters, young and middle age groups, men and
women, white non-Hispanics, married as well as single voters, Catholics, voters affiliated with non-Christian religions, and those with no religious preference.'

The results come more than three years after California voters passed Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriage in the state shortly after it became legal through a court decision.

Of the 13,743,177 voters in the November 2008 election, 52.24 percent voted in favor of the ban while 47.76 percent voted against it.

Earlier this month, the 9th District U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that California's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. Proponents are seeking a review of the ruling in a case which could potentially end up being decided by the US Supreme Court.

Voters were also asked about allowing civil unions but not marriage, or not permitting any legal recognition to same-sex couples.

Twenty-nine percent said they were in favor of civil unions instead of marriages while just 15 percent said they were in favor of no legal recognition at all for same-sex couples.

'The findings in this survey demonstrate that California voters over time have become more permissive on this issue,' the pollsters state. 'It is also apparent that some voters who support only allowing civil unions, but not marriage to same-sex couples, move to the side of approving same-sex marriage when the issue comes down to an either-or proposition.'

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