Recent national polling data suggests that African-Americans, a traditionally socially-conservative and religious voting bloc, are increasingly in favor of same-sex marriage.
The Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey, released today, concluded that the shift in Maryland voters' opinions meant that a "referendum to keep the state’s new law legalizing same-sex marriage now appears likely to pass by a healthy margin."
Maryland's governor Martin O'Malley signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage on March 1, and the law is due to go into effect in 2013 if it is not repealed by a ballot initiative in November.
The PPP survey found that 55 percent of African-American voters in Maryland say they will support the [Maryland same-sex marriage] law. This was a dramatic change from PPP’s previous survey, conducted in March, which found that 56 percent of African-American Maryland voters said they would vote against the measure.
A number of prominent African-Americans, including Jay Z and Colin Powell, have endorsed gay marriage in recent weeks. Their support follows that of President Barack Obama, who said on May 9 that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. On May 19, the NAACP also stated that marriage was a civil right, reported the Los Angeles Times.
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On May 17, PPP released a similar poll in North Carolina, where voters recently approved a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The poll found that "55 percent of African-Americans believe same-sex couples should either be allowed to marry or form civil unions." This was a shift from a poll conducted just days before the ban passed, in which 51 percent of the African-Americans polled did not think gay couples should be given legal rights.
The Obama campaign also reported today that poll numbers on same-sex marriage were increasingly tilting in their favor, the Associated Press reported.
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