Ohioans are not in favor of repealing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, but do support laws protecting gay and lesbian people from job discrimination, according to a new poll.
A survey of 1,001 Ohio adults by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found an equal number support and oppose same-sex marriage, 47 percent each, while 6 percent said they did not know or did not answer. Fewer — 45 percent — say they would vote for a ballot initiative to allow same-sex marriage while 51 percent said get would oppose the constitutional change.
“Ohio appears not quite ready to support a same-sex marriage amendment to the Ohio Constitution,” Dr. Paul Djupe, associate professor of political science at Denison University, said in a statement. “Support is significantly below majority in key regions of the state, and key groups that solidly support same-sex marriage nationally, such as Catholics, remain divided in Ohio.”
The survey was conducted between Aug. 8 and Aug. 15 on landline and cell phones and has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points. The institute noted the survey was funded in part by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, which lists gay and lesbian rights among its key initiatives.
Support tilts some along party lines, with 61 percent of Democratic voters favoring a constitutional amendment allowing gay marriage, independents divided, 47 percent favor and 48 percent oppose, and Republican voters strongly opposed, 24 percent favor, 73 percent oppose.
Ian James, co-founder of FreedomOhio, said the poll did not ask specifically about FreedomOhio’s amendment, which exempts churches from performing or recognizing marriages that do not align with their beliefs.
“Voters will be voting on civil marriage between two people who are either of opposite or same gender and they will be voting on an issue that will provide religious freedom of houses of worship,” James said. “That’s distinctly different from what that poll asked.”
Petitioners are gathering signatures to put such an amendment on the November 2014 ballot. Other groups supporting gay rights have said 2014 may be premature. Ohioans approved constitutional language defining marriage as between one man and one woman in 2004, 62 to 38 percent.
There is no law on the books preventing an Ohio employer from firing or refusing to hire someone because he or she is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Nearly 70 percent of Ohioans said they’re in favor of such policy, but most incorrectly believe Ohio has such a law.