Latino Support for the Freedom to Marry

Recent public opinion data show that Latinos – especially Latino Catholics – widely favor the freedom to marry, both nationwide and in key states.
  • An April 2012 study released by the Pew Hispanic Center found that 59 percent of U.S. Latinos say homosexuality should be accepted by society. Second generation Hispanics go further, with 68 percent of those surveyed saying the same. “On some social issues, Latinos hold views similar to the general public, but on others, Latinos are more conservative. Virtually identical shares of Latinos (59%) and the general public (58%) say homosexuality should be accepted by society,” according to the Pew study, “When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity."
  • According to a 2010 poll conducted by Bendixen & Amandi (conducted in both English and Spanish), 74% of Latinos support either marriage or marriage-like legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples. The same poll shows that 80% of Latinos believe that gay people often face discrimination.
  • March 2011 study by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that 67% of Latino Catholics support legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples, while 30% are opposed.
  • According to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in March 2012, 55% of Hispanics favor the freedom to marry (an increase of 10% since the last poll was conducted in October 2009), while just 30% are opposed. Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to vote for a candidate who supports marriage (26%) than one who does not (15%). In addition, 20% of Hispanics are much more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the freedom to marry, while only 11% are much more likely to vote for someone opposed.
  • 2010 study by the Public Religion Research Institute showed that 57% of Latino Catholics in California would vote in favor of the freedom to marry.
  • According to a February 2012 Field Poll conducted in California, 53% of Latinos (regardless of religion) in the state favor marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
  • Siena College Research poll shows that 55% of Latinos in New York supported marriage a month before the bill was passed in June 2011.
  • According to a November 2011 benchmark poll for Univision by Latino Decisions, a plurality of Latinos support marriage equality—43%, with another 13% supporting civil unions.  Opposition to government recognition of lesbian and gay relationships was only 26%.
  • Additionally, Latino Decisions has never found social issues—abortion, marriage equality and the like—ever polling more than 2% when registered Latino voters are asked about which issues matter most when they vote, illustrating how little impact such views have on the group’s voting behavior.
  • Latino Decisions also points out: There is no evidence that embracing marriage equality will cost the President votes among the important Latino voting bloc. Marriage or a ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples will be on the ballot in five states this year—all states the president won in 2008 and hopes to again in 2012—a good argument can be made for getting out in front on this issue, rather than “leading” from behind, in order to make sure the net effect is positive on the president’s reelection chances.
For more information, see: Talking About LGBT Equality with Latinos & Hispanics
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