Now that the protests are silenced, the politics is over and scores of gay weddings are in photo albums, a poll shows opposition appears to be softening against New York’s landmark gay marriage law and even Republicans are split on whether it should be overturned by a pending lawsuit.
Those are the findings of a NY1-YNN-Marist College poll released Wednesday night. The poll shows Republican voters who had been the strongest opponents are now split — 48 percent to 47 percent — on whether the law should be overturned.
That split exists even though most Republicans — 52 percent — still oppose gay marriage.
The poll also found that 63 percent of adults don’t want the law overturned, almost twice as many adults who do want it overturned. Even 59 percent of New York voters older than 45 years old want the law to stay in place. Older voters had been the most strongly opposed to gay marriage.
Overall, the poll finds that 55 percent of registered voters support the measure signed into law June 24 by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The poll also finds that 71 percent of registered votes would attend a gay wedding of a friend or relative — including nearly 7 in 10 Republicans.
“I think that clearly the numbers now don’t reflect the depth of the controversy of the last few months,” said Lee Miringoff of the Marist poll. “It’s still controversial, of course, but there is a much clearer sense across the regions that this is something people support and they don’t want to undo anything or turn the page backward.”
The New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms group is pursuing a lawsuit that would strike down the entire law. The group has opposed gay marriage on religious grounds, but its lawsuit cites violations in the state Senate’s own rules that severely limited debate on the night of the final legislative vote.
The group’s leader, the Rev. Jason McGuire, has said the process showed gay marriage was being forced through the Legislature while many New Yorkers still opposed it.
“If truly the legislation can stand on its own merits, then it should be able to withstand being deliberated publicly,” McGuire said after the vote.
He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment to the poll.
Opposition remains strongest among older, Republican New Yorkers who are also among the most reliable voters. Forty-three percent of Republican voters say they would be less likely to vote for a state senator who voted for gay marriage, which could be a major factor in heavily Republican districts. Just four of 32 Republicans did, providing the winning margin needed for Democrats.
“There’s been so much publicity regarding marriages that have occurred since it passed and that might have had some impact on people’s sentiments,” Miringoff said. “And there is also the sense that this is done now, let’s move on.”
The poll questioned 516 voters on the phone from July 28 to July 31 and made sure each county was represented in proportion to its population. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.