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September 2, 2009 at 9:39 AM

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Poll finds support for same-sex domestic partnerships

Posted by Jim Brunner

Potential good news for backers of the "everything but marriage law" that voters will be asked to uphold or reject in November through Referendum 71.

The Washington Poll released a report today showing public support for same-sex domestic partnerships has increased substantially over the past three years.

In 2006, about 59 percent of registered voters in Washington supported either same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships with the full rights of marriage, compared with 41 percent who favor fewer rights for such couples.

But by 2008, 66 percent of registered voters said they supported same-sex marriage (36.7 percent) or full domestic partnerships (29.3 percent). Just 32.6 percent were in support of lesser rights.

As you'd expect, the poll found support for domestic partnerships and gay marriage is much higher in the Puget Sound area and among Democrats and liberals than in Eastern Washington and among Republicans and conservatives.

The poll was conducted by University of Washington researchers and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

The researchers conclude:

"The debate over the legal recognition of same sex couples will no doubt remain controversial for some time in Washington State. Despite this, granting lesbian and gay couples the rights of marriage in their entirety in the form of domestic partnerships is a position supported by a majority of Washingtonians. This support is widespread across demographic groups, and is a majority position for those in the political middle."

The researchers plan to poll again in October specifically about R-71.

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