How do you feel about same sex marriage??
Barbara Von Aspern loves her daughter, “thinks the world” of the person her daughter intends to marry and believes the pair should have the same legal rights as anyone else. It pains her, but Von Aspern is going to skip their wedding. Her daughter, Von Aspern explains, is marrying another woman.
“We love them to death, and we love them without being judgmental,” the 62-yearDo -old Chandler, Ariz., retiree said. “But the actual marriage I cannot agree with.”
It’s complicated, this question of legitimizing gay marriage. Americans are grappling with it from their homes to the halls of government in the shadow of a presidential election next year. The ambivalence is reflected in a new poll that shows the nation is passionate, conflicted and narrowly split on same-sex marriage. Fifty-three percent of the 1,000 adults surveyed believe the government should give legal recognition to marriages between couples of the same sex, about the same as last year, according to the nationwide telephone poll by The Associated Press and the National Constitution Center. Forty-four percent were opposed.
People are similarly conflicted over what, if anything, the government should do about the issue.
Support for legal recognition of same-sex marriage has shifted in recent years, from a narrow majority opposed in 2009 to narrow majority support now. Some of the shift stems from a generational divide, with the new poll showing a majority of Americans under age 65 in favor of legal recognition for same-sex marriages, and a majority of seniors opposed. Nearly 6 in 10 (57 percent) in the poll shared Shoemaker’s take when it comes to government benefits. They said same-sex couples should be entitled to the same legal benefits as married couples of the opposite sex. Forty percent felt the government should distinguish between them.
The poll did uncover some inequities. It suggests, for example, that opponents of same-sex marriage were far more apt to say that the issue is one of deep importance to them. Forty-four percent of those polled called it extremely or very important for them personally. Among those who favor legal marriage for gay couples, 32 percent viewed the issue as that important.
Von Aspern is an example of an American whose opposition to gay marriage is deep and abiding. It’s based on her religion – she is Mormon – and as such it overrode other considerations when it came to her daughter’s wedding.
“It was very difficult,” Von Aspern says. “We had to bring them to the house and hug them and love them and tell them these things and not let that keep us apart.”