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Amendment vote doesn't look good in Virginia

A recent poll on an upcoming marriage amendment vote suggests Virginia will fall in line with the other states that have passed them. (Daily Press):

Fifty-six percent of Virginians say they will support a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage while 38 percent plan to oppose it, a new poll shows.

Well before the start of the fall campaign season, the Mason-Dixon survey found only 6 percent to be undecided.

Mason-Dixon Polling and Research conducted the poll for the Daily Press and other media. Pollsters surveyed 625 likely voters by telephone from July 25 through July 27. The margin for error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

There’s quibbling in the article over the language of the poll versus the actual amendment language (which is longer) — and the latter, obviously, is what will appear on the ballot.

Mason-Dixon question:

“Question Number 1 on the November ballot asks, ‘Shall Article One, the Bill of Rights, of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state that only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions?’ “

The November ballot question:

“Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state:

‘That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

“This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.?”

The Commonwealth Coalition, which opposes the amendment, said its poll, which includes the entire amendment language, resulted in 45 percent in favor and 40 percent against, almost within the margin of error. An Equality Virginia poll, which asked the same shorter question as the Mason-Dixon poll, came up with results similar to M-D.

What does this mean? If the Commonwealth Coalition is correct, it means that redoubling efforts to educate the public places the state within the realm of possibility of turning away the amendment. It will be good to track numbers on this one over the next while to see if this theory pans out.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding