U.S. News

California opposes move to ban gay marriage: poll

Sharon Papo (R) and her partner Amber Weiss display their wedding rings after exchanging wedding vows at City Hall on the first full day of legal same-sex marriages in San Francisco, California, June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Erin Siegal

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Californians are likely to uphold the right to gay marriage in the state by voting against a ballot measure that seeks to override a court ruling allowing same-sex unions, poll results showed on Friday.

The Field Poll survey firm found 51 percent of voters oppose the measure, which proposes an amendment to the state’s constitution recognizing marriage as only between a man and woman, while 42 percent were in favor.

Californians will vote on the initiative, which requires a simple majority to become law, while casting ballots in November’s U.S. presidential and congressional elections.

The survey results follow a decision on Wednesday by the state’s high court to permit the measure, Proposition 8, to appear on the ballot.

Supporters of gay marriages, which public officials in the most populous U.S. state must now license, had sought to have the initiative removed.

California’s Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision in May, overturned a ban on same-sex marriages, making the state the second after Massachusetts to allow the weddings in civil ceremonies.

The Field Poll survey of 672 Californians likely to vote in the November election was conducted by telephone in English and Spanish from July 8-14. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Reporting by Jim Christie; Editing by John O’Callaghan